From our friends at 12points.tv we have this bombshell:

Delegation details blatant backstage vote rigging

Several countries tried to manipulate the jury voting at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. This is what an anonymous source in the delegation from one of the participating countries has stated. This reinforces the suspicions of vote-rigging made in several media outlets this past spring.

Go read the article (Swedish version), then come back here for the rest of this post.

Does anyone have unequivocal proof of vote trading? No. That’s why “allegations” is stressed in the title of this post. However to quote one of our bloggers a storm is brewing. There are now numerous independent allegations from videos to statistical analyses to this statement from an inside source that together paint an unsettling picture.

Looking at the statement published from 12points (which was originally published in the Swedish newspaper Skånska Dagbladet and also in Aftonbladet), it’s strong that it names two of the countries alleged to be involved. However it’s weak that it does not name the third, nor does it name the individuals from those countries who allegedly proposed the trade. On the flip side, it paints a reasonable picture that dovetails with the other allegations that have surfaced.

The Macedonian delegation deny any wrongdoing and have said they are victims of mudslinging. Their response is interesting – “because lies are something that may later become a case for an international court”. An innocent party usually offers proof of innocence. A guilty party often has no defense other than to threaten retribution. (Of course, maybe the Macedonian official is just angry. If we were wrongly accused of something we would be angry too).

Voting Records

I love numbers. With all the “he said/she said,” we can then go look at the numbers (semi-finals). Macedonia had an awful entry this year so easy to check. They got 12 points from Albania, and next 5 each from Bulgaria and Malta. Albania also had an awful entry, and they got 10 points from… wait for it… yes Macedonia.

In 2012 Macedonia gave 12 points to Serbia and 10 to Turkey (which are reasonable votes). Serbia and Turkey repaid with 8 to Macedonia each (the top votes they received). In 2011 Macedonia gave 12 points to Bosnia and 10 to Slovenia. Top votes received by Macedonia, 10 from Bosnia and 8 from Slovenia. Cultural affinity? Or something else?

Looking at voting records it appears that vote trading could be endemic, but without any witnesses it’s nearly impossible to substantiate. Keep in mind the above numbers don’t just question Macedonia, they question the votes of Albania, Bulgaria, Malta, Slovenia, and Turkey. And this comes just from looking at Macedonia’s voting pattern. There could well be more looking into other countries. (For someone with the time to do it, I suggest starting with the semi-finals.)

EBU

And now we wait to see what the EBU will do. We know they’re pissed, but will they step up to address the potential problem? To date the EBU seems to be focused on pretending everything is ok with statements like:

To assure a fair jury voting, judges are asked to sign a document declaring their independency, and are asked to submit details about their professional background. The jury voting is overlooked by an independent notary who confirms to the EBU and PwC that the voting has been conducted in accordance with the Rules.

Uh guys, I’m pretty sure every bank robber is willing to sign a document saying they were making a valid withdrawal. They’ll even sign it in front of a notary. And while PwC states that the jury votes have been in accordance with the rules, we know that the rules have been blatantly disregarded in some instances, so their statement is worthless. (You can read more of the EBU response here).

Will this be addressed? Or will ESC voting be as fair and independent as elections in member countries like Belarus? Do you think that Eurovision vote buying is endemic?

To read more of our coverage of the 2013 Eurovision voting scandal, click here.

David T is a Colorado-based correspondent for wiwibloggs.com. You can keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.

Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)

 

 

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Vlad
Guest
Vlad

I believe it’s a cultural thing and not corruption. Scandinavian and Baltic countries as well as Ireland and the UK rarely give any points to Balkan countries, but I do not think it is because they hate us – I just think Balkan songs just do not fit most people’s taste in those countries. The same goes Balkan countries and their voting. I’m from Serbia and I love Scandinavian music, but I have to admit it leaves most of my Serbian friends cold.

-_-
Guest
-_-

Oh come on. Don’t you think that if Macedonia was involved in any kind of cheating, they’d do much better??? Is it really a shock to you that ALBANIA, BOSNIA, SLOVENIA and BULGARIA gave points to Macedonia? They’re all neighbors and as other neighbors vote for eachother it shouldn’t be a shock for them to do it as well. And who are you to indicate that Macedonia & Albania 2013 are ‘awful’ entries? For one, Albania is my number 1 this year. And a little known fact… focus on the countries that do well EVERY year (*cough*Azerbaijan*cough*). Known fact is… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

Speaking of that, they should do away with this idea of an “invalid” public vote for countries with small amounts of votes. If they’re that worried about smaller countries’ votes being manipulated in some fashion, they should figure out alternative ways rather than discounting the people’s vote entirely. I’d feel ripped off if I were a Sanmarinese voter!

Julian
Guest
Julian

“They detail how countries are buying and trading jury votes to maximize their results.” First. Jury votes can be fixed like crazy much more easier and safer than public vote. It was done in the past all this I vote you you vote me and also plain buying of votes. Second. If this has happened during the contest such thing is not so wise. Real deals are made well ahead. Third. Malta, cannot have given 4 times in a row maximum points to Azerbaijan without the jury being the main factor in this. As a matter of fact I am… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

Hey, there’s an interesting quote in the article from the Macedonian delegation:

“Ljupcho Mirkovski says that he knows who the source of the data is. ‘This is not the first time that this person is trying to smear the Macedonian delegation. ‘”

Remember that scandal with Esma and Lozano that turned out to be bogus a few months ago?

Alex
Guest
Alex

Malta’s 12 points have gone to Azerbaijan for how many consecutive years now? It isn’t so much of a surprise if this is indeed true about Malta and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan really badly wants to host the contest again, and Malta is a small country that doesn’t get neighbor voting. FYR Macedonia cheating would be kind of random, but not a surprise in 2013 given the lousy forecast its entry had in the betting odds. However, FYR Macedonia and Albania exchanging high sets of points is in no way a surprise, given that they’re neighbors. The same for Bulgaria. Malta and… Read more »

Angus Quinn
Editor

I think cultural similarities has a lot to say for some of the voting, but that is spookily consistent in scoring cases. I did always find Malta giving Azerbaijan big points a bit bizarre though…

Syl
Guest
Syl

who cheating should be out…

germanguy
Guest
germanguy

Azerbaidjan and Macedonia out of eurovision!!

Leaf
Guest
Leaf

People should really focus more on the “HIGH” scorers, making a scandal of neighborly voting is kinda petty ….. Then the whole contest is rigged and the winner is preselected !!!!!!

The only way they can prove this is if The Scandinavian or the Soviet block gave their top points to a country like Macedonia. But passing on the ball from Azerbaijan to Macedonia based on the fact that the song was atrocious and Turkey, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Serbia gave it point ….. That’s just plain ridiculous !!!!!!

Eurofan
Guest
Eurofan

Indeed, unless the EBU has something they want to hide, why would they not take that seriously? I’d begin to think the contest organisers were being paid off too.

Jericho
Guest
Jericho

What angers me is the EBU’s generic answer to all of this. “People always say there is cheating…but there is no evidence.” Well, as the governing body, it is YOUR responsibility to take the allegations and find the evidence. You have the resources…

Eurovisiondco
Guest
Eurovisiondco

I’m soo sick of this .. EBU needs to put a stop to this corruption .. Notice how many corrupt nations are involved .. Bribes are like a culture to these people .. We need a STOP to this !!

Eurofan
Guest
Eurofan

Macedonia’s entry was bad. the song was a bit messy in tone from the start but the live performance was pretty atrocious (the backing singers aaargh) Some of the points can be put down to the usual bloc voting. But yes, its worth reminding the EBU that anyone involved in a scandal isn’t going to be all ‘oh no, i might be a corruptible person, i shouldn’t get involved.’ There are people who are like ‘oh what’s the big deal, it’s not a crime’ including the EBU. I would point out that there are obviously financial benefits to be gained… Read more »

Bogdan Honciuc
Guest

Aftonbladet also reported the story: http://www.aftonbladet.se/nojesbladet/article17429692.ab

Anette
Guest

How can you decide that some entries are “awful”? Isn’t that a matter of taste? Just because you don’t understand how some people vote doesn’t make it a proof that they’ve cheated. If that’s the case, I have a long list of countries that just don’t know how to vote “right”. 😉