Some more news and updates on the elections and stories that could affect the elections:
In Italy, which will start its 2 day long poll today, Berlusconi has been caught up in yet another scandal in the media, with pictures of naked women in his villa (and a naked man who may or may not be Topolanek, the leader of the Czech ODS party). The pictures were published by El Pais and are banned from appearing in the press in Italy due to being a breach of privacy. I doubt the pictures, or rumours of pictures, will have much effect on Berlusconi's EPP-aligned right-wing party in the elections - none of the other scandals have (including divorce proceedings).
In France, there's been a big clash between Danny the Red and the leader of ELDR aligned MoDem, Francois Bayrou, on French television. Daniel Cohen-Bendit viciously slammed Bayrou as a leader and presidential candidate, while Bayrou countered by raising old allegations of pedophilia against the former '68 student leader. I wonder how much of an impact this will have on the Greens and MoDem in France - Sarkozy's UMP are expected to comfortably win a good number of votes, with the Socialists behind due to their disarray. A new communist group is doing well in the polls, perhaps to the socialists' expense, but it means that MoDem and the Greens could be fighting for third to fifth place. Perhaps this outburst will damage the chances of either reaching third.
MoDem has also declared themselves against Barroso's bid for a second term.
The Commission is once again annoyed with the Netherlands for producing preliminary results before the rest of the member states have voted. There have been some indications that the Commission could actually do something about it and perhaps even refer it to the ECJ. However, the lack of a truely pan-European campaign means that the Dutch results are unlikely to have much of an impact on the rest of the voting.
Analysis over the preliminary result is already taking place - especially on what the surge in support for the right wing PVV actually means.
RTÉ predicts that there will be a healthy turnout in Ireland - around 60%, and perhaps higher than the last local and European elections due to the economic crisis (then also 60%). On Northern Ireland, RTÉ reports that there was a 42.8% turnout (a drop of around 9% from the last European election), and speculates that de Brún will top the poll with a big lead, making Sinn Féin the "biggest party in any election" - not that it matters in this election. The DUP could have been hit hard (they've not exactly run a good campaign, with a candidate who was frankly embarrassing at times). I suspect that the extent of the vote-splitting with have a lot to do with how Diane Dodds has gone down with DUP voters.