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Europe votes, maybe

May 27, 2009

A new poll, conducted at the request of the European parliament, says that voter turnout in upcoming EU elections will not be quite as low as previously feared. Still, less than half of those asked say they will vote.

A vote is cast into a ballot box, with the European Union flag in the background.
The EU may be facing another low turnout in June's electionsImage: Photo Europäisches Parlament

375 million people are eligible to vote in June's European elections, but surveys suggest that only a fraction of that number will do so. The most recent - conducted by TNS on behalf of the European Parliament - suggests that around half of the electorate will go to the polls, a slight improvement on recent studies.

The survey found that 43 percent are certain to vote, and another six percent are likely to do so. However, only 12 percent of voters said they certainly would not cast their ballots.

In Germany, 42 percent of voters say they intend to participate.

The TNS poll found that Irish, Belgian and Maltese voters are most likely to vote, with around two in every three prepared to take part. Britain, Bulgaira, Poland and Slovakia were the worst performers, with less than one fifth of people surveyed there promising to go to the polls.

The last EU elections had a record-low turnout of just over 45 percent. European politicians are trying to ensure that more people cast their ballots, after another recent poll suggested that only 43 percent of voters intended to show up this year.

Analysts are concerned that a low turnout at the polls will make it easier for extremist parties to flourish, as a relatively small number of votes might suffice to secure seats in the parliament.


Editor: Rob Mudge