If the number of web based initiatives was anything to go by then June’s European Elections are gearing up to be rather interesting. What impact all of these initiatives will have on turnout, interest in the elections etc. remains to be seen. But for now here’s a summary of the initiatives that I’ve come across, and my first thoughts about them.
EU Profiler is the first vote match tool to be released. The basic idea is that you answer a bunch of questions and the website tells you which party / parties you are closest to. Fellow euroblogger Nanne has commented more about his experience with the site. The tech of the website is quite smooth, but I wonder about the choice of questions – in the UK version I took half of the questions were about issues that the European Parliament cannot decide. So while the results might be accurate in party political terms, are they accurate in terms of explaining what the EP does? I rather think not. A version of Votematch – simpler, easier and more accurate than EU Profile – has now also been launched, building on the 2004 EU Elections Votematch that I was involved with launching – you can still take the 2004 test here.
Then there are the initiatives that try to showcase what MEPs have been doing (or not doing) over the course of the Parliamentary term. Parlorama.eu looks the most promising of these so far, although most of the info is only in French at the moment. The site however seems to disproportionately use data about MEPs’ attendance at plenary sessions – not a good yardstick in my mind as it’s easy to send of muppet MEPs to the plenary session and get them to vote. It’s harder to get such individuals to do good legislative work.
There are 2 sites looking at how Parliament legislates – EPvote.eu which is more or less running already, and VoteWatch.eu that was launched in May with some fanfare in Brussels. The EPC think tank is behind VoteWatch so it has some promise.
When it comes to election outcomes Predict09 is an effort by Simon Hix and others to predict the likely composition of the Parliament – they have underestimated support for eurosceptics I fear, and their methodology does not take turnout into account, but it’s an interesting initiative.
No time for in depth reading of MEPs’ blogs and websites? Then perhaps Europa Tweets is the answer – is an aggregator of all the MEPs and European Election candidates using Twitter.
Last but not least if you want an intellectual challenge you can have a go at Die Zeit’s EP election quiz – in German.
A new website from the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) has been launched – ElectionCampaign.eu looks at MEPs’ positions on 4 issues of openness and transparency. Looks like a good initiative!
If you want to find out who your local candidates are try micandidate.eu for a selection of European countries, or Wikipolitik.eu for Germany.
A further new site from Burson-Marsteller – TweetElect09 to follow European election debate on Twitter.
(note: a few links in this entry have been updated as sites have been launched)