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EUobserver / German MEPs test legal limits in EU elections

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Two prominent German MEPs are testing the limits of free speech in their EU election campaign, while Polish politicians compete for attention on the 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism.

Top German Liberal candidate, the attractive Silvana Koch-Mehrin, whose smiling face graces the party's numerous posters ahead of voting on 7 June, finds herself in Germany top newspapers over her attendance record in the European Parliament.

Free speech: one German MEP sought limits, while the other is happy to cross the line

In April, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that her attendance in the EU assembly was just 38.9 percent. Ms Koch-Mehrin complained that her time off for maternity leave had not been factored in and had a temporary court injunction - since lifted - taken out against the paper preventing the unflattering attendance figure, taken from an unofficial website on MEPs' records, from being mentioned.

Meanwhile, she testified that the real figure was 75 percent. Official European Parliament statistics in May cited 62 percent, however, prompting speculation about whether the MEP lied under oath as well as a wider debate on the pressure that politicians put on media if they do not like coverage.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:49:09 PM EST
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