Beyond the World news headlines
Should voting be compulsory in European Parliament election?
As people across the European Union vote in a European
Parliament election, is it perhaps time to consider making voting in each country compulsory by law?
The build-up to the election has been dominated by talk of voter apathy and how low the turnout will be at the polls. This has drowned out discussion of policies and how to bring about changes in government.
As an Irishman living in Belgium, I must vote in the elections or face a hefty
fine. My first response to this five years ago was: How dare they
tell me what to do ? But on further reflection, it may make sense.
It is annoying to listen to people who haven’t voted for
years trying to put the world to rights by complaining about
their government or engaging in a bit of “Euro bashing”.
The only way they can make a difference is to vote.
Voting is compulsory on the election in Belgium, Cyprus, Greece
Pollsters say a low turnout favours the extreme left and
far-right parties because they can mobilise their voters while
mainstream voters are more likely to stay at home.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also made
the point that there is another issue at stake — that most
countries in Europe have experienced bloodshed without which
people may never have had the right to vote in some countries. He
appealed to voters not to scorn this chance to vote.