Sat Sep 27th, 2008 at 05:30:38 PM EST
Big election day this Sunday in Europe, with Belarus, Austria and the German state of Bavaria. Over 30 million people, altogether.
I too get a chance to cast a vote, in Berlin, though tactically, I'd probably be better adviced not to.
There's a referendum in Berlin Mitte on the extension of zones in which parking fees are levied. The machines are already operating, but a citizen's initiative has gathered enough votes to get a referendum.
As this is in a district of Berlin and not in the entire state, all EU citizens that have residency can vote.
Update [2008-9-28 10:49:29 by nanne]:Results here.
Update [2008-9-28 14:42:27 by nanne]: Preliminary results after all votes have been counted: 79,4% for eliminating parking fees; 20,6% against; participation at 11,7%. Referendum fails to overturn the extension due to not meeting the participation threshold.
I've talked to several (not right wing) people about this, and they are all overwhelmingly opposed to parking fees. Even when they don't own a car, and even when they don't live anywhere near the streets where the fees are going to be collected.
My arguments that cars should pay for the space they are using and that anything that makes driving in the city more expensive is good were not really compelling.
There's no polling to wonk over here. But a previous referendum in Charlottenburg over more zones in which parking fees are collected resulted in a resounding defeat for the zones / victory against them. And the only papers that were running stories on the referendum yesterday are owned by Axel Springer, Germany's Rupert Murdoch.
One thing that gives me hope is that the people I've talked to are all either on holiday or doing something tomorrow, so they may forget or be unable to vote, and there needs to be a turnout of 15%. I am relying on the people of Berlin Mitte not to care.
Update [2008-9-28 10:47:42 by nanne]:The citizens of Berlin Mitte don't disappoint! Participation at 16:00 was at 6%. Boots open until 18:00.
Which is what happened at the statewide referendum on keeping the Tempelhof Airport open. It was a pretty Sunday, and not enough people turned up to vote, so it will fortunately be closed. Tomorrow we'll see 19 degrees Celsius and sunshine. Monday it'll be 14, with heavy clouds. Might be the last (relatively) warm and sunny day of the year.