Last week the EBU announced details of the new voting system. With it came a lot of debate, but a generally positive response. But things weren’t so happy in the microstate of San Marino. Broadcaster SMRTV has come out against the changes, saying the new system “discriminates” against them.
The problem stems from San Marino being too small to have a valid televote. The country uses Italy’s phone system and the small population of the microstate (31,448) means that they would struggle to reach the minimum voting threshold.
Under the old voting system, the San Marino jury’s voting made up the entire San Marino vote. But under the new system — where both the jury vote and televote are counted separately — the EBU will use a composite vote to create a stand-in televote score for San Marino.
As the EBU explained, the “substitute result is calculated by the audience result of a pre-selected group of countries”. It’s thought that the countries would come from the same allocation pot for the relevant country. In San Marino’s case, this could include the Czech Republic, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta or Poland, and perhaps Italy as well.
SMRTV aren’t happy this means effectively half of the San Marino vote will be made up of votes from other countries. They’re also displeased that the EBU made the decision without first discussing the issue with SMRTV.
Is this the end for San Marino?
The station’s Director General Carlo Romeo made this statement, implying that the country may withdraw from the contest next year:
“Small states are, once again, discriminated against. Not only that, now the discrimination is formalised. This is barely tolerable and the San Marino National Radio and Television is unsure whether it can tolerate it next year too. It is unbearable that certain decisions are simply communicated and not shared with the broadcasters involved.”
If San Marino were to withdraw from Eurovision due to the voting, they wouldn’t be the first. Turkey withdrew from the competition in 2013, saying they were displeased with the introduction of the jury vote, despite their second place in 2010 coming under the televote/jury system.
But San Marino are still committed to participating in Stockholm. Turkish singer Serhat will represent the microstate with his yet to be released song. It remains to be seen how the composite vote will compare with San Marino’s jury vote, or indeed if it will effect the overall result of the competition. But there will be a lot of close examination of the scoreboard in May.
What do you think? Should the EBU have consulted with San Marino? Is the microstate over-reacting? How could the televote issue be revolve? Share your thoughts below.