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News Wednesday, 16 June, 1999, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK
Dana's second Euro victory
Dana
Eurovision winner Dana makes it as an MEP
Irish singer Dana and British actor Michael Cashman are celebrating victories in the European elections.

Rosemary Scallon, who won the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest as Dana, captured an independent seat in the Connacht-Ulster European constituency.

In the UK, Michael Cashman - who played Colin Russell in BBC soap EastEnders - is now a Labour MEP in the West Midlands.

Ms Scallon, 45, caused a major upset in Ireland with her victory, gaining the third seat in Connacht-Ulster.

She came third in the country's 1997 presidential election, and returned from her home in the US to fight the European elections.

After hearing of her huge haul of more than 51,000 first-preference votes, she declared: "I am so delighted. I can't believe I am in this position.

Christian values

"It's wonderful to know that without the big party machine, an independent voice can make such an impact today and a difference. It's clearly sending a message.

"But we have run a good campaign and it has sent a signal to the system that you do not need a big expensive, well-greased party machine to get elected here - as I hope I will be."

Ms Scallon's campaign was based on traditional Christian values - including outright opposition to abortion.

She added: "I think family values won out here. It is really a universal truth that the stability of the family is essential to the stability of society."

Ms Scallon will not be the first musical star to have walked Strasbourg's corridors of power.

Greek singer Nana Mouskouri is a former MEP, but she opted not to stand for election this time.

Cashman's new role

Michael Cashman: Labour winner
Michael Cashman: Labour winner
Actor Michael Cashman starred in the BBC's EastEnders for three years, hitting the headlines when his character was involved in the first gay kiss on a TV soap.

The 47-year-old has been an active Labour Party member for 22 years and last year he successfully won a seat on Labour's National Executive Committee.

"People can be forgiven for thinking that I suddenly landed here from a planet called EastEnders," he said.

"I am proud of my time in EastEnders. We changed hearts and minds."

He added that taking a role as the jeered-at narrator in the Rocky Horror Show at London's Hackney Empire helped him prepare for the campaign.

"I get booed at a lot which is the best training for any would-be politician," he said.

La Lollo's loss

Meanwhile, in Italy, Hollywood legend Gina Lollobrigida failed to win one of the country's 87 seats.
La Lollo: Better at attracting moviegoers than voters

The 71-year-old actress, whose credits include 1956's Trapeze, Solomon and Sheba from 1959, and Hotel Paradiso in 1966, failed to pull in the votes in her native Subiaco, a small town near Rome.

She was one of the candidates for the Democrats - a new party co-founded by European Commission President-designate Romano Prodi, but won just 164 of 4,909 votes cast.

And she wasn't the only celebrity to miss out. Film director Franco Zeffirelli, also did surprisingly badly in his hometown of Florence.

The director of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet only picked up 568 votes for his party, that of conservative opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia.

See also:

14 Jun 99 | News
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