EU diary: 2 days to go
A poll commissioned by the European Parliament puts the centre-right conservatives ahead of the socialists, as a clarion call goes out for France's royalists to rally round. Plus, electoral origami.
With two days to go before the European Union's parliamentary elections wind up, here is the latest from the campaign trail.
POLLS, PIES AND CHEESE
The European Parliament's TNS Opinion poll of polls shows the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) holding on to a narrow lead to win 217 seats or nearly 29 percent of the total in the new 751-seat house.
The Socialists are in second place, with 199 MEPs or 26.5 percent of the seats, followed by the Liberals with 61 seats (eight percent) and the Greens on 50 seats (6.6 percent).
The resulting pie-chart, referred to around Parliament as a "camembert" (from the round, creamy French cheese), suggests the EPP's slice will put it in a strong position to stake its claim that candidate Jean-Claude Juncker get the EU's top executive post, European Commission president.
PUTTING THE SOVEREIGN INTO SOVEREIGNTY
France, long a monarchy until the guillotine helped make it a Republic more than 200 years ago, needs a king to restore its fading glory, according to the "Alliance Royale".
"Kings made France; without Kings, it is coming undone," says a party spokeswoman as she presents a video referring to the EU as "an oligarchic technocracy, founded on money" which voters should reject.
The solution, according to the Alliance, is to install a King (Queens are not mentioned).
"There is no sovereignty without a King ... who does not work for the next election but for the next generation... Let's get out of the Republican spell!"
The Alliance, founded in 2001, will be fielding candidates in six regions of France.
With a number of claimants to the French throne, the group's website is careful not to support any pretender. Instead, it says the "dynastic choice will be made, in due course."
'TIS THE SEASON TO VOTE
Those who have found the campaign for the European Parliament tiresome should spare a thought for the people of Slovenia, who will traipse to the polls at least three more times before the year is over.
Only two weeks after electing their eight representatives to the European Parliament, Slovenians will hold a referendum, on June 8, on the future of its former Communist secret services archives.
Less than a month after that, the country's 1.6 million voters will be called to the polls for early elections, following the resignation of Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek in May.
Finally, in October, regular local elections will be held. At the end of it, the country's president, Borut Pahor, will be the only elected office-holder not to have faced a poll.
PIRATE MAIL AHOY!
Could another Scandinavian trend be about to spread through Europe with Ikea-like efficiency? Sweden's Pirate Party, a broadly libertarian political outfit, has this week made its presence felt ... in Belgian letterboxes.
In what could be the first-ever work of political origami, the Pirate Party in Brussels is sending out material shaped like small paper boats, in keeping with the pirate theme.
Those with the patience to unfold the flyers will be able to read the French-language slogan: "The world is open, politics has come to a halt -- let's start the game".
The party, founded in 2006, has put up candidates in 15 EU countries and has two MEPs in the outgoing European Parliament: Amelia Andersdotter and Christian Engstrom, both from Sweden. It remains to be seen whether the pirate philosophy will float in other parts of the EU.
© 2014 AFP