Parliamentary polls imminent in Europe. 22.5.2019

Voters to cast ballots to elect members of 751-seat European Parliament between May 23-26.

Parliamentary polls imminent in Europe


Britons and Dutch people will head to the polls on Thursday to start the voting for the European Parliament elections running through May 26.

Czechia and Ireland will hit the ballot boxes on Friday to elect members of the 751-seat parliament. Slovakia, Malta and Latvia will follow them on Saturday. Citizens of 21 other European countries will cast their ballots on Sunday.

The new presidents of European Parliament (EP), European Council and European Commission will be elected in the vote.

With some 400 million eligible voters, the elections — held every five years — will see a rivalry among eight political groups.

The unofficial results of the EP elections are expected to be announced after 10 p.m. local time (2100GMT) on Sunday. Members of the new parliament will take the office on July 2.

Germany holds majority of seats in EP

Acting as the legislative body of the EU, EP adopts laws and approves the budget of the EU with the European Council.

The candidates can run for the EP elections, first held in 1979.

The MPs represent the citizens of EU in the decision-making mechanisms and protects the national interest.

The EP is the only EU institution which elects its members.

The population of a country determines the distribution of seats in the parliament. So, Germany, the most populated EU country, holds 96 seats, while Malta has six seats.

In case of Brexit, the number of the seats at the parliament will decrease to 705, and the 73 seats of the U.K. is expected to be distributed among member states.

Spitzenkandidat process

The Spitzenkandidat process was implemented after the last European Parliament elections.

Through the process, the candidate nominated by the most-rated political group in the parliament was elected as the EU Commission president. It is still being discussed whether the same process will be implemented after these elections.

EU leaders are expected to meet on May 28 to decide whether the same process will be implemented. Germany supports the process while France and Luxembourg oppose it.

In this context, Social Democrats (S&D) candidate Frans Timmermans, European People’s Party (EPP) candidate Manfred Weber, European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) candidate Jan Zahradil, Liberal and Democratic Alliance of Europe (ALDE) candidates Guy Verhofstadt and Margrethe Vestager stand out in the election process.

Far-right parties of elections

Strengthening in Europe, far-right parties can increase their vote rate in the EP elections.

Polls suggest that far-right parties can take at least one third of the seats.

In Italy, Poland, Hungary and Austria, the far-right parties hold the power, while it is gaining popularity in France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Czechia and Slovenia.

The far-right parties are represented in the three political groups in the EP: The European Conservatives and Reformers (ECR), the European Freedoms and Europe (ENF) and the European Freedoms and Direct Democracy (EFDD).

Traditionally ruled by center-left and center-right parties, it is expected that the far-right parties increasing the number of seats will divide the EP and make decision-making difficult.

*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur