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Ironduke
11 Jun 04,, 07:05
Dutch defy EU on election results

The Dutch government has released preliminary results from its European parliament elections in defiance of a European Commission order.
The Netherlands and the UK went to the polls on Thursday; the 23 other EU countries are due to do so by Sunday.

The Commission, which is threatening the Dutch with legal action, says one country releasing some results early could influence voters in another.

But the Dutch said they were acting in the interests of greater transparency.


Apathy feared

The Commission says the early release violates an EU imposed embargo to prevent the results in one country influencing voters in another.

But the Dutch government has argued the new law does allow early publication of results if they are not the final tally.

Correspondents say that the controversial Dutch provisional results released this Thursday, indicate with a certainty of 98% to 99% who will fill the 27 Dutch seats in the European parliament in Brussels.

The EU extended its frontiers to include 10 new members on 1 May this year and the elections across the 25 members make it the world's biggest trans-national poll.

But there are fears that up to half the 350 million-odd people eligible to vote will ignore the exercise.

In the UK, the elections are likely to be the last test of public opinion before general elections next year.

Read the rest here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3792877.stm