A spokesman for the Electoral Commission explained today why the counting of the European election votes is so frustratingly slow.

He said that in general elections, the political parties have enough agents behind the perspex to watch over every ballot paper raised by the commission's counters.

But this time there are fewer party agents and they cannot keep up with the nine counters in each of the 13 desks manned by the commission.

The commission therefore has opted to reduce the number of counters, sometimes by as much as two thirds, to ensure that the party agents can keep up and problems are avoided.

The vote-counting started at Noon on Sunday and is expected to continue until early tomorrow.


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