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.
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).
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.)
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)