Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Election Results Nullified

I found this story from Libération rather unusual. I don't know if such a thing could happen in the US. If the results of an election are questioned here, I believe proof of voting fraud has to be provided to nullify the outcome:

"Totally nullified." That was the verdict rendered on Tuesday by the administrative tribunal of Strasbourg where suits were filed disputing the the reelection of the incumbent mayor of Colmar, Gilbert Meyer, last March.

The tribunal invalidated the municipal vote, which had resulted in a win by 149 votes for Gilbert Meyer, of the UMP party, against Roland Wagner of the DVD party (Note: this means a coalition of various right-wing parties). During the hearing, on September 16, the government commissioner had explained that the nullification was due to two irregularities: the accelerated establishment of a soccer field in an urban development zone, after promises were made to the youth of the neighborhood a few weeks before the first round of voting. This was considered by the tribunal as a "propaganda operation." And second, the promise of a subsidy of 164,000 euros for the expansion of a mosque made on February 25 by Gilbert Meyer to an imam who spread the word to the faithful. "The tribunal retained these two irregularities," added Attorney Nicolas Kihn, Roland Wagner's lawyer: "The promise of a subsidy for the mosque, after which the Muslim community was asked to vote for Gilbert Meyer, which constitutes pressure on a part of the electorat, and the development of land for a soccer field between the two rounds of voting."

The mayor of Colmar has one month to file an appeal. Gilbert Meyer said he was "very surprised" by the decision of the tribunal, which he said was based on an "evaluation" and not on a fraudulent action. (...)

If an American candidate makes a promise just before an election to a segment of the electorate, then wins in a close election, his opponent would call for a recount, not a lawsuit for his having made the promise. I may be wrong about this - if anyone has better information let me know. Possibly there would be a charge of "peddling influence"? Don't we call it "pork" and isn't it legal?

Le Monde adds these details:

(The tribunal) found that the promise to imam Bachir Daoudi, president of the Cultural Association of North African Muslims was relayed only to the faithful, without Meyer's opponent being given the chance to take a stand on the issue.

The tribunal also judged that the "sudden appearance" of workmen (on the soccer field) enabling the organization of a sports rally on the eve of the second round of voting, and the presence at this site of Mr. Meyer "had as an objective to influence the voters in the neighborhood who would benefit from this project."

At any rate it shows the extent to which building mosques has become useful to more than just Muslims.

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At October 02, 2008 3:35 PM, Blogger zazie said...

The only detail I can add is about the plot of land changed into a football field : it does not belong to the town ; the owner was not asked for any permisssion about the transformation of his property ; this owner may be "un office HLM" (municipal housing estate), or a private person, I really don't know.


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