As the expat community in Luxembourg (and not only) awaits with bated breath for the announcement that bookings on the “special flight” are open - in order to begin the scramble for the rare weekend home - citizens of other countries who currently reside in the Duchy approach the MEP elections with relative calm.
Malta seems to be the only democracy with special needs. In India, a man reported to be 127 years old walked 4 km to get to the polling booth in Himachal Pradesh. Bhadaru (who claims to be 150 years old) has had his measure of walking for democracy:
“When Mahtama Gandhi came to Shimla, I along with some other village folks trekked 60 kilometers to the city to get a glimpse of him. But they killed him later.’’
In Malta, Parliament finds time to make legislation intended to facilitate the life of voters with special requirements. Like those of a bunch of athletes who will be representing their country on the day of the election. It would be interesting to see whether the parliaments of the nations of other athletes competing in the same competition have enacted similar laws.
In Malta, the two paranoid leading parties need a close control over electors and the ballot boxes. Hence, rather than have voters abroad exercise their right in an embassy they prefer digging into taxpayers’ pockets and chartering a rare flight to Luxembourg. There is no other explanation for this behaviour unless you consider that the PLPN can really hold these flying voters under their tabs.
Our inbox at the Court today included a missive from the Italian Embassy to all the Italian nationals. It pointed out the right to vote by post for the forthcoming referendum. As for the EP elections, I checked out the Italian embassy’s site:
Gli elettori italiani residenti all’estero e iscritti all’A.I.R.E. hanno due possibilità:
1- possono votare per l’elezione dei rappresentanti lussemburghesi al Parlamento Europeo: la domanda deve essere presentata al Comune lussemburghese di residenza entro il 12 marzo 2009 (è richiesta la residenza in Lussemburgo da almeno 2 anni);
2- oppure, in alternativa, possono votare per l’elezione dei rappresentanti italiani, in Italia o in Lussemburgo presso le sezioni che saranno istituite dall’Ambasciata.
Anche chi si trova temporaneamente in Lussemburgo per motivi di studio o di lavoro può votare per i rappresentanti italiani, presentando alla Cancelleria consolare dell’Ambasciata d’Italia (25, route d’Esch L-1470 Luxembourg), entro e non oltre il 19 marzo, apposita domanda indirizzata al Sindaco del proprio Comune italiano di residenza (il modello fac-simile di domanda è reperibile su questo sito, nonchè sul sito web del Ministero degli Affari Esteri italiano al seguente indirizzo (link).
Incredible isn’t it? The Italians might not exactly have got their international duties and obligations right but when it comes to facilitating the voting of citizens without creating an excessive burden on the taxpayers’ purse and inconveniencing voters (because believe it or not having to plan a weekend trip and take days off work can be an inconvenience) they are miles ahead (and I do not mean nautical).
 In answer to the request for translation here is the general gist of the extract: Basically anyone listed on the electoral registry can choose to either vote for Luxembourg reprentatives (having been resident in Luxembourg) in the Luxembourg election or vote for Italian representatives at the Italian embassy. The opportunity to vote at the embassy is extended to whoever for reasons of work or study will be in Luxembourg on the day of voting. In all cases all the voter has to do is register his intention to vote with the appropriate authorities by a certain date. I hope this satisfies the translation requests.