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Europe’s democracy deficit

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From The Economist

Who are the most enthusiastic voters in Europe?

BRITAIN and the Netherlands kicked off the four-day process of electing members for the European Parliament on Thursday June 4th. It is one of the biggest democratic exercises in the world, with over 375m voters in 27 countries. But some voters lack enthusiasm. As the European Union has expanded, turnout has dwindled: from 62% at the first election in 1979 to 45% in 2004. Some blame a general decline in democratic engagement but, aside from countries with compulsory voting such as Belgium, the difference in turnout for national and European parliaments is substantial. And worryingly for Europhiles, turnout is worst in many of the newest members of the club, in eastern Europe.

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