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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2004, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Voting fault hits Eurovision heat
FYR Macedonia's Tose Proeski
FYR Macedonia won public approval with a performance by Tose Proeski
Public votes were miscalculated at the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final on Wednesday after technical hitches in Monaco and Croatia.

The European Broadcasting Union, which runs the event, said there had been "a problem with the calculation software".

But the result was unaffected, and the 10 semi-final winners will continue to take part in the final.

For the first time in its 49-year history, the winner of Saturday's final will be decided solely by public vote.

Text messages

The mistake was discovered one hour after the semi-final was broadcast from Istanbul on Wednesday night.

A report from Eurovision voting firm Deutsche Telekom revealed a problem with calculation software as results from Monaco were processed.

A problem with SMS, or text message, voting in Croatia was also discovered.

As a result a number of votes for the 22 semi-finalists were not included in the result announced at the end of the live television broadcast.

Greek entry Sakis Rouvas
Sakis Rouvas won a place in the Eurovision final for Greece

However, the corrected results ranked the same 10 semi-finalists to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest final.

These were Greece, Bosnia, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro, Malta, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Croatia, FYR Macedonia and Cyprus.

'Full report'

They will join 14 other finalists, including the UK, at Istanbul's Abdi Ipekci stadium on Saturday.

The EBU has "demanded a full report" on the error from Deutsche Telekom's Spanish subsidiary Digame.

The Eurovision organiser also requires "that Digame/Deutsche Telekom guarantees that they will solve the current problems with their software before the final on Saturday night".

The EBU has employed accountancy firm Ernst and Young to act an as independent auditor on the matter.

A press conference was due to be held by the EBU and Digame on the matter in Turkey on Thursday.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's David Sillito
"Phone voting will decide the winner"



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