By Martin Arnold in Paris
Published: March 31 2007 03:00 | Last updated: March 31 2007 03:00
The peaceful streets of Rheims, the champagne-capital of France, were transformed this week into the site of an experiment in democracy that threatens to cast a shadow over next month’s presidential elections.
The city’s roughly 100,000 voters were invited to five polling booths to choose which type of tree they would like to be planted along the central rue de -Talleyrand.
The catch for voters – apart from deciding between golden bamboo, magnolia and rhododendron – was that they cast their ballots on new electronic voting machines, being tested before their use for thefirst time in the forthcoming presidential election on April 22.
French politicians vote non to voting machines
By Lucy Sherriff
Published Tuesday 24th April 2007
Voting machines are not going down well with the political classes in France. The machines were involved in widespread problems on Sunday’s ballot and, according to reports, several of the country’s political parties have demanded that the technology be withdrawn.
This election was the first Presidential race in which voting machines have been used. Around 1.5 million of the 44.5 million registered voters had to vote on the machines, but according to Agence France-Presse problems with the technology meant people had to queue for up to two hours to cast their electronic ballots.
Many voters simply gave up in the face of such a long wait. Others said they did not trust the machines to protect the anonymity of their vote.
“CHEATING MACHINES” A “CATASTROPHE”
French parties call voting machines a ‘catastrophe’
Several French political parties demanded the withdrawal of electronic voting machines for the second round of the presidential election after widespread problems during Sunday’s ballot.
It is the first time the machines have been used for a presidential election in France. Amid big queues in general to vote, people using the electronic machines were forced to wait up to two hours to cast ballots.
The left wing parties complained following problems at Noisy-le-Sec, a suburb east of Paris.Read more.