Expatica news

Spanish voters choose parties online

9 March 2004

MADRID – A third of Spanish voters make up their minds up about which party to choose by reading about them on the internet, according to a report published Tuesday.

But the Spanish Association of internet Users has criticised the way some politicians have presented their message to readers.

They point to the way Mariano Rajoy, priministerial candidate for the conservative Popular Party, leaves out the second surname in the title of his webpage.

The page outlines Rajoy’s policies and outlines his “human side”.

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, leader of the main opposition socialist PSOE party, has a page which explains why he wants to lead the country and allows internet users to give their opinions of his party.

Of all the political parties, only the PP and the Catalan nationalist party CIU are thought to have used the internet to its full potential.

Both have good webpages and technical support, according to a study for the Internet Global Congreso (IGC) which is to meet in Barcelona in May.

To find out the election results on 14 March, voters can use a special page from the Home Office at www.elecciones.mir.es

The results will be given in real time.

But most digital editions of  newspapers, radio stations and televisión channels are also using special election websites.

These include   www.terra.es and www.yahoo.es.

The Internet first made an impact on Spanish politics during the 2000 general election, when the governing Popular Party used its own  webpage.

By this year, all the main parties have followed suit with their own web pages.

The free access to information has converted the internet into an authentic route to democratise the electoral message.

The report said this means more people are motivated through the internet to vote for one party or another.

There are also numerous discussion forums in which voters can exhange opinions.

The majority of left-wing voters have been mobilised through email messages, which are sent around from friends and contacts.

The report added that even though Spain is not on the same level as the presidential candidates in the US, all serious candidates must have their own web pages.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

                                          Subject: Spanish news