An Introduction to EU Elections
The role of the European Parliament is to represent the people of Europe – that’s more than half a billion people. As such, it is one of the biggest parliaments in the world.
Parliament votes on laws and plans proposed by the European Commission, has a say on the EU budget and checks that money is actually being spent as approved.
It is the only parliamentary institution of the European Union that is directly elected by EU citizens. It is currently headed by Antonio Tajani – President since January 2017.
Every five years EU citizens vote for their MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) in the European elections. The next elections are taking place on 23-26 May 2019 giving all adult EU citizens the opportunity to select who will represent them in the European Parliament.
In the UK, voting will take place on Thursday 23 May.
In Spain, voting will take place on Sunday 26 May.
Seats are allocated between the 28 member states based on the population of each country. Within the European Parliament, MEPs are grouped by political affinity, not by nationality.
There are 751 seats in total with the number of MEPs ranging from 6 for Malta to 96 for Germany. Spain has a total of 54 MEPs, the UK has 73.
Proportional representation (using the d’Hondt system) is used when electing MEPs. This system ensures that if a party gets 20% of the votes, it will also win roughly 20% of the contested seats, so both larger and smaller political parties have the chance to send representatives to the European Parliament.
The UK is divided into 12 constituencies: London, SW England (including Gibraltar), SE England, E England, W Midlands, E Midlands, NW England, NE England, Yorkshire & Humber, Wales, Scotland and N Ireland. In the EU elections, you vote for a party, not a candidate.
Dr Mike Galsworthy explains…..
The European elections- how they work, what’s happened with the Remain Alliance- and what you can do.