From Sweden to Belgium, what is the secret of these EU countries?

It occupies an important place in the French political landscape. With 53.77% Of the registered voters who did not vote in the second round of the Assembly elections on Sunday, June 19, abstinence retained the nickname “France’s first party”. This phenomenon is not new and is about many democracies. As stated in the 2016 OECD Report.

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But some countries like Sweden have a higher participation rate, often above 70%. So does abstinence depend on political history, the electoral system or the way parties campaign? To see more clearly, FranceInfo looked at these European states, where citizens seem to place more emphasis on having their voice heard at the ballot box.

In Sweden, relaxation in synchronized elections and postal ballots

With 87.2% turnout in the last 2018 general election, Sweden is in conflict with the rest of the European continent. Voting is not mandatory, but the number is very high. “Like Malta, for example, this is a country where we vote collectively because all elections take place at the same time.”Philip Costelka is a professor and political expert at the European University.

“In five years, the Swedes have voted twice, while the French have had to go to the polls five times.”

Philip Costelka, Professor at the European University Institute

at franceinfo

Every four years, Swedish voters meet on the second Sunday of September to elect both their representatives, their community councilors and members of the municipal assemblies. For the researcher, synchronization of polls makes it possible to generate more interest in campaigns. “It simply came to our notice then. Explicit Philippe Costelka. In France, the campaign for assembly elections always starts late because the parties are focusing on the upcoming presidential election.

Other reasons are cited by political scientists to explain the high turnout In this Scandinavian country. Beginning with the postal voting system, i.e. by post, is described as “Very generous” Researcher Stephen Dolberg, In a study published in 2016 (In English). In the mid-2000s, as abstinence increased slightly, the system became more flexible and efficient. As a result, the share of remote voters is increasing every year, just like the overall turnout. Finally, initiatives such as the proportional representation system and the Jarwa Festival Veka, who mixes music and politics, has kept the Swedes interested in their elections.

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In Estonia, online voting is widespread

The Baltic nation, with a population of 1.3 million, has not voted below 40% in its legislative elections in recent years. It is the only member of the European Union to provide online voting on all ballots since 2005. With all the victory, more Estonians have opted to vote online: 43.8% of voters did so during the last assembly elections in 2019. This system, which is considered reliable and secure, is very accommodating: if a citizen votes twice – by slipping a ballot box into the ballot box later on the Internet – it becomes a privileged body ballot, making online voting obsolete.

However, nothing proves that the digital preference attracts outcasts even among young people. “Many studies conducted in other countries show that electronic voting has no effect on voting.”Veronica Cartier, a researcher in computer science at the Lorraine Laboratory for research in computer science and its applications (Loria-CNRS), recalled. The question was raised by The world In June 2021.

“Online voting is having an edge effect [sur la participation]To voters living abroad. “

Philip Costelka, Professor at the European University Institute

at franceinfo

In France, according to a June 2021 poll, 78% of those in question and 80% of those who did not vote in the first round of elections agreed to implement online voting. But there are risks associated with cybersecurity again for French decision makers.

Does voting easily on the Internet prevent the electoral base from crumbling? “It’s possible, but still difficult to measure.”Philip Costelka warns that he must maintain good electoral lists in this highly centralized state. “Like many places, it’s very easy to change the list when citizens move house. Sometimes it’s automatic.”, He explains. In this case, “France and England are exceptions, which is a shame”, The researcher regrets. “False registration” is actually the main source of neglect. With data from INSEE’s support, researchers were able to establish that nearly 13 million people were not registered incorrectly. During the 2017 French presidential election. “In a sense, this obscures the reality of the French vote.”Comments for his section Philip Costelka.

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In Belgium, compulsory voting and “citizen nomination”

Belgium is one of the few European countries that has made voting compulsory. It has been around since 1893, and participation is close to 90%. If a voter does not vote, he or she may be forced to pay a smaller fine. If this happens four times within fifteen years, without any evidence, the citizen will be removed from the voter list for ten years. A rule that has a powerful psychological effect above all else underscores Philippe Costelka. “In Belgium, sanctions are not usually used, but when you look at the referendum, citizens do not know and think they will be duly punished,” he said. He details.

But duty is not a miracle solution. In Greece, voting is compulsory, with a turnout of about 60%. In 1993 Italy abandoned the compulsory vote. In France, the idea is still defended by some political figures. Anne HidalgoThis was proposed by the PS candidate in the last presidential election. Like LFI candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Choose this “Simple” And “Training” Is a “Wrong answer”Judge Dorian Bruil, an expert on the Jean-Jaurès Foundation and co-chair of the NGO, voted in favor. “It represents a terrible failure, not a conviction.”, He believes. According to him, this duty will negate our problem “Breathless Democracy” Inside “Based on the principle that the fault lies with the voters”.

“The real problem comes from our organizational structure, which does not comply with the terms of engagement today.”

Dorian Bruil, an expert on the Jean-Jaurès Foundation and co-chair of the NGO, voted

at franceinfo

If compulsory voting is not unanimous in France, Belgium will be an inspiration in terms of participatory democracy. Note to the Jean-Jaurès Foundation June 15 marks an innovative device for residents of the Belgian capital. “A ‘.Citizen recommendationIt only takes the signature of 1,000 Brussels residents of voting age to convene a debate. “, Exposes Dorian Breuil. The panel, comprising three-quarters of the citizens and one-fourth of the members of parliament, was drawn by lot“It meets to study a particular theme and makes recommendations sent to Parliament, which are responsible for providing them with a translation (in the form of a question to the Legislature or the Government)”He explains. The third is in this context “Discussion Committee”On the issue of biodiversity in the city, done 21 Suggestionsநன்று மாய்.

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Since voting is compulsory in Belgium, it is not known whether these efforts involving elected representatives and citizens have reduced voting. But according to Dorian Bruil, these kinds of inventions in France can be implemented to reorganize the people and restore momentum for elections. According to him, “Response to Democratic Emergency”It is necessary“Press all the buttons at once”. In other words, it suggests making the record on electoral rolls more fluid, facilitating access to the ballot, but also engaging citizens directly in the democratic process.

France did so with the great national debate that began after the crisis of the “yellow dress” or the Citizens’ Conference on Climate (CCC). But these innovations, which provoked strong commitment and enthusiasm from the participants, were ultimately disappointing. One count: Out of 149 CCC projects, only 10 have been taken “Without filtration” In the “Climate and Recession” bill. According to conference participants, others have been reduced, diluted or their meaning emptied. The National Council for the Renaissance, announced by Emmanuel Macron, should be involved “Political, Economic, Social, Auxiliary Forces, Representatives of Selected Territories and Citizens’ Certificates”. A precursor to lasting change that will bring citizens back to the polls?

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