Head-to-head races expected in Netherlands In the Netherlands, the Mayor of Maastricht, Onno Hoes, was the first to vote at an election ceremony shortly after midnight.

Head-to-head races expected in Netherlands In the Netherlands, the Mayor of Maastricht, Onno Hoes, was the first to vote at an election ceremony shortly after midnight.

Head-to-head races expected in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the Mayor of Maastricht, Onno Hoes, was the first to cast his vote at an election ceremony shortly after midnight. From 5.00 a.m. travelers could vote at 50 train stations, from 7.30 a.m. all polling stations were open. Around 12.5 million citizens were called upon to appoint 26 members for the European Parliament. Surveys assumed a head-to-head race between the pro-European, left-liberal party D66 and the anti-European party of right-wing populist Geert Wilders. There was a low turnout in the country.

In Great Britain, which is traditionally critical of Europe, voters determined 73 of the 751 MEPs from 8.00 a.m. According to surveys, the right-wing populists of UKIP with their chairman Nigel Farage could become the strongest political force on the island with up to 30 percent.

Ireland and the Czech Republic will follow on Friday

The two countries will be followed by Ireland and the Czech Republic on Friday. In the neighboring country of Austria, it is eagerly awaited whether the new ANO movement of billionaire Andrej Babis will continue its highs. Polls saw the protest party as the strongest force just ahead of its government partner, the Social Democrats (CSSD).

For the first time, the major European parties entered the election campaign with top candidates – the conservative EPP with Juncker, the European socialists with the German SPD politician Martin Schulz. According to surveys, voter turnout across Europe could still be below the 43 percent from 2009. A low turnout usually plays into the hands of smaller parties on the left and right. According to surveys, EU skeptics could get up to 30 percent of the seats in the new EU Parliament.

Voting in the Caribbean too

Votes for the EU election are also cast in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. Eligible voters from the Caribbean communities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba were some of the first to vote on Thursday – as citizens of the Netherlands. The three island areas are also referred to as « special municipalities » (Dutch: bijzondere gemeenten), BES islands or the Caribbean Netherlands.

While the islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten count as equal countries to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the BES islands are considered to be Dutch municipalities. Because of the time difference, the polling stations in the Caribbean Netherlands are open until Friday night (Central European Summer Time). In total, only around 21,000 islanders live on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba – the number of voters is therefore less important with around 400 million eligible voters in the EU.1 2 3 help essay

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The anti-European party of right-wing populist Geert Wilders suffered a surprising setback in the European elections in the Netherlands. According to a forecast published by Dutch television on Thursday evening after the polls closed, his Party for Freedom (PVV) landed in fourth place with 12.2 percent – just under five percentage points below their 2009 result.

The pro-European left-liberal party D66, which came in at 15.6 percent, was thus just ahead of the Christian Democrats (15.2).

The right-wing liberal ruling party VVD reported slight gains and came in third with 12.3 percent. Your social democratic coalition partner, on the other hand, lost almost three percentage points to 10.0 percent. At around 37 percent, the voter turnout was about the same as in 2009. Around 12.5 million citizens were called on Thursday to redefine the 26 Dutch MPs.

The Dutch forecast is based on interviews with around 40,000 voters after they have cast their votes. Official results will only be announced after the last polling stations in Europe close on Sunday evening after 11 p.m. in Italy.

No forecasts from Great Britain

In Great Britain, which was also elected on Thursday, opinion polls expected significant profits for the right-wing UKIP, which has raised the mood above all with an exit from the EU and immigration. In the traditionally Europe-critical country, right-wing populists could be right at the front. Last polls before the election saw UKIP with its chairman Nigel Farage as the strongest political force with up to 30 percent. The British elected 73 of the 751 MEPs. Forecasts were not announced in the evening. Results are not expected until Sunday evening.

In the elections in the 28 EU countries, 400 million people will be called to vote up to and including Sunday. The majority of EU citizens will only vote on that day.

Projections on Sunday from 11 p.m.

The first EU-wide forecasts are expected on Sunday evening from 10 p.m., projections and official results only after the last polling stations have closed at 11 p.m. in Italy. The top candidates and candidates for the post of EU Commission President will probably only comment afterwards. There is concern in Europe that right-wing extremist, populist and eurosceptic parties will gain strength.

After the Dutch and the British, the Irish and Czechs are next in line in the European elections on Friday. According to surveys in the Czech Republic, the new ANO movement of the major entrepreneur Andrej Babis is likely to continue its highs. As the strongest force, the protest party is just ahead of its government partner, the Social Democrats (CSSD). In Ireland, opinion polls expected the left-wing Sinn Fein party of former IRA man Gerry Adams to perform well. The Irish have often used EU votes to protest against government policy in Dublin.

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mueckenstrunz Fri., May 23rd. 2014 09:33

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if bumsti can do the same

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The turnout in EU elections is consistently lower in Austria – but also on the rest of the continent – than in national polls. The reasons for this waiver of the right to vote are different – and all wrong.

In 2009, 46 percent made use of their right to vote, in 2005 with 42.4 percent, a little less. For comparison: 74.9 percent of those eligible to vote took part in the 2013 National Council election, in 2008 it was even 78.8 percent. But why do so many citizens forego their voting rights in elections to the European Parliament?

One reason given by non-voters that is often given is EU skepticism and general disenchantment with politics. An argument that Paul Schmidt of the

Austrian Society for European Politics

of course nothing can be gained. Those who have a negative view of the Union have to go to the polls because: « If I don’t, I can’t criticize in retrospect either. »

Austrians have influence

Schmidt also clearly opposes the frequently heard argument that one’s own voice does not count. Austria has only 18 of the 751 EU MEPs, but in view of their areas of activity one has to say “they have a lot of influence”. ÖVP top candidate Othmar Karas is one of the vice-presidents of the parliament, the outgoing SPÖ member Hannes Swoboda is currently president of the European Social Democrats and the Greens leader Ulrike Lunacek is vice-president of her group in the EU parliament. There are also roles as committee chairman or rapporteur on important matters.

Schmidt sees the reason for these prominent roles played by the Austrian EU representatives in the dynamism of the EU Parliament. « Committed people can make a difference in this Parliament – and that’s why every vote counts. » In addition, a higher voter turnout at home shows an increased interest in European developments and thus increases the weight of the voice of the Austrian representatives in the Union bodies. The more support from the population, the more can be done at European level and « the Union can be made a little more Austrian in the best sense of the word, » said Schmidt.

Austria has a say

Whereby the expert refers the much-cited “driving over in Brussels” to the realm of myths. Austria’s representatives sit at the table with every decision and influence and decide. For Schmidt, the fact that European developments are often perceived as foreign, distant and abstract is less due to the fact that this is actually the case, but rather to a communication deficit in national politics and often in the media.

Another reason for the low turnout is based on a blatant misjudgment: not even a fifth are of the opinion that important decisions for Austria are being made in the EU Parliament. In fact, up to seventy percent of the bills have their origin in European committees and are then only implemented into national law at the national level (read: in the National Council). In view of the frequent criticism of EU decisions, this almost seems schizophrenic.

Improvements through the Lisbon Treaty

Another important argument to use one’s right to vote lies in

Lisbon Treaty entered into force in 2009

, which massively upgraded the European Parliament. While there were previously some central policy areas beyond the MEPs’ influence, since then the common foreign and security policy is the sole concern of the Council of Heads of State and Government (“European Council”). On all other matters, Parliament decides together with the Council, including the large chunk of agricultural policy, into which almost half of the Union’s budget goes.

The Lisbon Treaty also brought another decisive upgrade to the elections: De facto, for the first time, voters also determine the President of the European Commission, which is the only one with the right to propose legislative proposals (“right of initiative”), at the same time on compliance with the EU Contracts – and is therefore often the focus of criticism with regard to unnecessary regulations and excessive bureaucracy.

Schulz vs. Juncker

Although the European Council continues to propose the candidate, the Lisbon Treaty expressly states that the heads of state and government must take into account the outcome of the elections. In practice this means that a representative of the strongest political group in the European Parliament will preside over the next commission. For this reason, the parties have set up Europe-wide top candidates for the first time: For the most promising candidates from the European Social Democrats and the European Conservatives, these are the current Parliamentary President Martin Schulz from Germany (SPE) and the long-standing Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker (EPP).

In practice, that means: Those who vote for the SPÖ automatically vote for Schulz as commission president, and those who vote for the ÖVP also speak for Juncker. A development that the expert Schmidt expressly welcomes. « If the Commission President is democratically legitimized, he will have a much greater bond with the population. » And that can only have a positive effect on the work of the much scolded Commission.

In summary: there are numerous reasons to vote – and actually none for not.

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Robert Baumann Fri., May 30th. 2014 09:30

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on the radio they say polling stations are open until 5 p.m., in reality most of them are closed from noon. say 1pm

Yellow Dragon Thursday, May 22nd. 2014 17:56

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Even if you cast your vote, you will not be heard. Since when has Austria been heard? Yes, if you can pay, then it is, but otherwise not.

mueckenstrunz Thursday, May 22nd. 2014 3:04 pm

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i will not vote because i have already voted with a voting card – you can register for all elections (disabled persons) and you will always receive voting cards in the mail

PeziK Thursday, May 22nd. 2014 12:51 pm

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I don’t remember the voice of the people ever counting anything. The big banks, energy companies and big industry rule. The people are only allowed to pay the debts of these exploiters. Then why should we vote?

mueckenstrunz Thursday, May 22nd. 2014 15:05

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At its final rally for the EU election on May 25th, the FPÖ appealed to its supporters to mobilize voters. Both top candidate Harald Vilimsky and party leader Heinz-Christian Strache called on the Viktor-Adler-Markt in Vienna, according to the police, to around 500 listeners to vote on Sunday. « If you don’t go, you won’t change anything, » said Strache.

The party is clearly aware of the importance of mobilizing its supporters. Vilimsky, who took the stage under « Harald Harald » choirs after about two hours of attunement by the « John Otti Band », asked the audience to « spread the enthusiasm ». « Please make sure that people actually vote, » he said at the closing rally on Thursday.

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