Apathy on the part of voters appeared to be the unifying factor in the first round of polling for the European elections on Thursday (7 June).
Apathy on the part of voters appeared to be the unifying factor in the first round of polling for the European elections on Thursday (7 June). Electors in Britain, Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands were the first to cast their votes for the world's first multi-national, multi-lingual parliament. The remaining five EEC countries will vote on Sunday (10 June); the votes from all the countries involved will be counted on Monday (11 June). In Northern Ireland a bomb exploded at a polling station in Belfast. Police blamed the attack on the Irish Republican Army, (IRA) who had called on voters to boycott the elections.
SYNOPSIS: Observers in Britain forecast the turnout could be less than 50 per cent, compared with 76 per cent in the General Election last month which swept Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher to power. Clerks at the polling stations said they would normally be kept busy for most of the day writing out registration numbers. On thursday their work-load was a lot lighter. In one part of Wales, though, there was a one hundred per cent attendance at one polling station. Only four people were registered to vote there and they all turned up early. Not surprising when two of the voters live in the house being used as a polling station.
In Belfast the turnout was also lower than expected. Apart from the bomb attack on a north Belfast polling station, the day passed without incident. There was some confusion because voters were being asked to choose three candidates out of the 13 offering them selves for election. The usual type of election in the U.K. is 'first past the post'.
Irish voters also appeared to be less keep than they were for the General Elections. Prime Minister Jack Lynch was one of those who made his choice early on polling day.
Also in the Netherlands it was the politicians who led the way. Of the four countries voting on Thursday the Dutch registered the highest turnout, with nearly 58 per cent of the electorate casting a vote.
In Denmark the poll followed the pattern of the other countries - with one survey suggesting that the percentage of people voting was the lowest in any Danish election since the Second World War.