68% non-voting Europeans think their vote doesn’t count

Article published on Jan. 8, 2009
Article published on Jan. 8, 2009
Presenting very different political programmes could be the key to massive voter turnout in Europe for the elections in June 2009. It is still possible that the socialists will present a candidate to run against the current European commission president, conservative José Manuel Durão Barroso

The Romanian elections in December 2008 revealed a very serious piece of information: only 40% of the population voted. This has cast a new shadow over the European elections in June 2009, when in 2004 only 43% of the population voted. This perspective may favour conservative options, but the economic crisis may make the left vote move to the strategists of the European socialist party. The data from the electoral Eurobarometer reflects a militant absenteeism, as 68% of people who abstained from voting said they did so because of 'doubts that their vote would change anything'. Another 60% said they did so because they 'didn’t know enough about the European parliament.' Only 16% of people who didn’t vote said they did so because they were not on the list of registered electors or because of travel issues or health.

Each party must be authentic

Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said during the past European socialist meeting that 'you can only win elections when political projects are authentic.' If that is true, European parliament forces only have five months to differentiate their programmes and plans for Europe from each other's. One of the instruments to bring a political project for the next five years in Europe to life is each party naming a candidate who would preside over the European commission.

Each party will name a candidate to preside over the European commission

The European people’s party now has theirs: the Portuguese José Manuel Durão Barroso. The rest are waiting to see what the European socialist party does. In their ranks, the overwhelming majority of national leaders support the Danish candidate Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. Among the greens – with Franco-German Daniel Cohn-Bendit at the helm – it is popular to support the socialist candidate, while the liberals try, without success, to convince Belgian Guy Verhofstadt to compete as a candidate.