Corridors of Power: Spain, Malta, Egyptians on Obama and More

Corridors of Power: Spain, Malta, Egyptians on Obama and More

GOING FISHING IN MALTA AND SPAIN -- This item must be prefaced with a reminder that in the 2004 U.S. presidential election 55.3 percent of Americans voted, and thatwas the highest voter turnout in a decade.

In Europe, there were two general elections Sunday in which voter turnout was an issue. In Spain, the experts were predicting that the lower the turnout, the worse Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's chances of re-election would be. A low turnout was reckoned as anything below 70 percent. In the event, however, 74 percent of Spaniards did their civic duty, and Zapatero was returned to power in relative comfort.

But read on. Meanwhile, in the Mediterranean Island of Malta (pop. 404,039) officials expressed concern that the voter turnout in the Maltese elections was the lowest in memory. The reason for this concern was that "only" 93 percent of Maltese voters went to the polls Sunday -- a drop from 98 percent in past general elections. Despite this sudden spike in public indifference, however, the governing right-of-center Nationalists managed to scrape through, narrowly defeating the opposition Labour Party.

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