Sun, May 25, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Dutch blog targets loophole to scoop EU polling results

EARLY BIRDS:A news Web site that calls itself ‘needlessly offensive’ aimed to beat a news gag order from the European Commission

AFP, THE HAGUE, Netherlands

A Dutch blog hopes to scoop the results of Thursday’s European parliament elections by using a loophole to get around Brussels’ demand that results be kept secret until today.

Voters in the Netherlands and Britain are choosing their MEPs on Thursday, with the rest of the 28 EU members choosing theirs today.

So as not to influence those who have not yet voted, the European Commission has ordered that Dutch authorities do not make any official announcement of the results before polls close everywhere today, something they neglected to do at the last election in 2009.

10,000 POLLING SITES

Polling organizations are to take exit polls, but the GeenStijl.nl (No Style) blog has recruited more than 2,000 volunteers to go to some of the about 10,000 polling stations where Dutch electoral law says the vote results must be read out after they are counted.

The volunteers are to report the results, which are slated to be much more accurate than exit polls, and they will be given out on the blog’s Web site and on Twitter with the hashtag #geenpeil (Dutch for “no opinion poll”) from when voting closes at 7pm.

IRREVERENT

The irreverent blog — whose slogan is “Biased, unfounded and needlessly offensive” — interviewed Dutch Minister of the Interior Ronald Plasterk to ask if what they were doing was legal and he confirmed that it was.

“You’ve read the electoral law well,” a smiling Plasterk said in a video on the blog’s Web site.

There will not be any exit polls in Britain and no indication of results until tonight at the earliest.

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