Back in 1979, the year Iran became an Islamic Republic by a 98 percent vote; there was a 63 percent turnout in the European Parliament elections. In 2004, the year that Facebook was founded, the European Parliament voter turnout had dropped to 46 percent. What are we looking at now? 39 percent? 35 percent?
URGENT: Here on Th!nk About It we need a widget where all the bloggers and visitors can vote on this year’s turnout. (Editors: Can we have that Wordpress polling plugin, please?)
Given that smug Europeans love to highlight the deficiencies of US democracy, especially its record of voter apathy, a turnout lower than, say, 35 percent in the coming days in the EU would be very embarrassing, indeed. And then there’s this sobering comparison: “Severe heat wave sweeping through India limited the turn out to 55 per cent in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections covering 222,350 polling stations in 140 constituencies across 12 states. There were 2,034 candidates in the fray.”
If the EU really wanted to spare itself the humiliation of election ennui, it would run a Lisbon Treaty referendum in each of the 27 member countries to coincide with the European Parliament vote. That would have stirred up interest and it wouldn’t have cost much to add the question to the ballot, either. It would have been rather awkward, though, if, say, a half-dozen countries then rejected the thing.
Now, hardly anyone will notice or care if the MEPs go back to their retirement residence. The only winner is the transport industry, which will be jumping with joy at the prospect of all those trips between Brussels and Strasbourg, and back again.
And my turnout prediction? A record 32 percent.