Friday, June 05, 2009

Disappointing predicted turnout in Gibraltar Euro Vote 2009

I am rather disappointed to read the predicted low turnout in Gibraltar, of around 35%, in its second ever participation in a European election.

Reading Brian Reyes' report in today's Gibraltar Chronicle is depressing and sad, especially after the right to vote in EU parliamentary elections, which Gibratar did for the first time ever in 2004, was so hardfought for... and only achieved after a EU court ruling!

In his Chronicle report, Brian Reyes says Gibraltar’s electorate "appeared to be largely indifferent".

"Throughout the day there was slow activity at the 12 polling stations around town, a trickle of voters compared to the last EU election in 2004.

Outside the polling stations, the police officers on guard duty looked bored. Inside, the civil servants idled the hours away and looked relieved whenever a voter stepped in.

The polls were open until 10pm and a surge in numbers was possible. But as this edition went to press, the indication was of a markedly low turnout by Gibraltar standards."

As polls closed at 10pm last night, the Chronicle reports just 7,166 voters had cast their ballots. That's only around 35% of eligible voters and well below the previous election in 2004, when the turnout was around 57%, a figure that Gibraltar has been proud of as it is significantly higher than the average turnout across Europe, which stood at just over 45%, for the 2004 elections.

The Chronicle reports that the ballot boxes are now securely locked up at the Supreme Court. They will remain there until Sunday evening when the votes will be counted, following the conclusion of all voting across Europe. Gibraltar’s results should be officially announced late on Sunday night, 7th June.

I'm hoping even with the low turnout... that the LibDems will still nevertheless, produce a good 'showing'... fingers crossed!

Footnote on being the 1st

Speaking about the LibDems, as regular readers of my blog will know, I have much enjoyed supporting Jonathan Stagnetto (seen casting his vote yesterday on the picture right - courtesy of Panorama), who is the first Gibraltarian to stand for election under the Liberal Democrats list in Thursday's vote. He is however, the second Gibraltarian ever to stand for election in a European Parliament vote, and I much enjoyed helping him with his campaign in a small way, with a little contribution helping to run his Facebook Group.

I was therefore interested to see this headline in Panorama: First Gibraltar candidate in a European election casts his vote for mainstream party. Not exactly a very clear headline (nothing new there from Panorama) or possibly accurate... but I do know what they mean... I think!

The Panorama report pictures Jonathan Stagetto voting and describes him as "the first Gibraltarian candidate to stand in a European Election with a mainstream party".

"Standing for the Liberal-Democrats, Jonathan Stagnetto - member of the Liberal Party of Gibraltar - was making local history as he cast his vote."

As Brian Reyes (journalist for the Chronicle and blogger) himself pointed out to me recently, when I first started excitedly blogging about Jonathan Stagnetto's standing for the LibDems in Gibraltar's Euro vote, he was not THE first Gibraltarian to stand for one of the main parties, in a Gibraltar (or any other) European Parliamentary election. That credit goes to Lyana Armstrong-Emery, who stood for the Green Party in the 2004 Euro vote. By most people's yardstick, these days, the Green Party IS 'one of the main stream parties' albeit not one of the 'big three' but it cannot be dismissed as a minor party any longer. Obviously I don't know what their vote will be in this election as yet... but I suspect it will be significant. Enough to be regarded as a 'main stream party' anyway!

So, either way, whether Panorama meant the 'first Gibraltarian candidate in a European election' or standing for one of the 'main parties' in a European election... I would have to dispute that... especially after their journalist colleague picked me up on it. In my defence, I did know Lyana had been the first ever to stand... only in my excitement... I forgot! Perhaps Panorama have made the same mistake? Then again, I might be 'splitting hairs'... Funny though!

Follow the EU Election Results

You can follow the European Election and view the results as they are announced here: BBC NEWS | Special Reports | Election 09