Monaco elections this weekend
All bus journeys and car parks will be free on Sunday 10th February to encourage the public to witness the momentous event. A total of 6,824 people are registered to vote in the national election, but never before have they been faced with such a long list of candidates.
"We have had three lists before, as in 2008, but they were never full," explained an unnamed offical of the administration team to local newspaper Monaco Matin. "We must therefore revise certain aspects, such as the voting cards, where the 72 names must be listed."
This year's third list has been proposed by underdog party Renaissance, set up by SBM employees and trade union members. The new political party does not offer ground-breaking policies but instead opts for achieveable goals. "We are not going to fight for victory. We only hope that one of our candidates is elected into the National Council to defend the interests of the SBM workers in Monaco," explained the party last year.
If Renaissance win 12.5 per cent of the vote, equivalent to 600 votes, their goal will be achieved. But they will face an inevitable challenge from two established rivals: Union Monégasque and Horizon Monaco.
"I am very calm," said the leader of Horizon Monaco, Laurent Nouvion, to Monaco Matin. "I am more determined than ever to secure the future of Monaco and its compatriots. I believe that our campaign has been clean and honest. We tried as hard as possible to connect to the Monegasque people and to respond to their concerns. This is the heart of our committment. For me and my fellow candidates, this campaign has brought us even closer together and given us the sense of being a real team, just like a sports team.... Adversity has strengethened our relationship."
Jean-François Robillon, leader of Union Monégasque, is also optimistic. "We have worked hard at this long campaign," he said in an interview. "We are here to make plans for the future, not to abuse our adversaries, frighten the population and create an atmosphere of hatred... This has been our goal throughout the campaign: we have sought to promote our programme while avoiding aggressive confrontation."
Voters will be flocking into the Salle du Canton between 8am and 7pm on Sunday. Then, the organisers will have just one hour to set up 20 tables, where the votes will be counted and broadcast live on an 18 metre screen. The final result is expected to be announced between 4 and 4.30am on Monday. In traditional style, the party with the new majority will be presented to the Princes Palace, where they must sign the prestigious Golden Book.