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European Parliament Elections 2019

Europeans turned out to vote in the EU elections in the highest numbers in 20 years. Wondering what the new Parliament will look like? Check the updated results:

Voters from the 28 member states of the European Union have casted their ballot in what is the second biggest democratic exercise in the world. Up to 400 million Europeans are electing 751 MEPs to represent them in Brussels and Strasbourg over the next five years.

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19 European media outlets from 13 countries are fact-checking the May 2019 European elections for you

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The European elections in detail

HOW MANY MEPS FROM EACH COUNTRY?

The allocation of seats is laid down in the European treaties. It takes into account the size of the population of each country, with smaller countries getting more seats than strict proportionality would imply. Currently, the number of MEPs ranges from six for Estonia, Malta, Luxembourg and Cyprus to 96 for Germany.

ELECTORAL SYSTEM

The rules say that some form of proportional representation should be 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.

Countries are free to decide on many other important aspects of the voting procedure. For example, some split their territory into regional electoral districts, while others have a single electoral district.

VOTING DAYS

Countries in the EU have different voting traditions and each one may decide on the exact election day within a four-day span, from Thursday (in the Netherlands and the UK) to Sunday (when most countries traditionally hold their elections).

WHO RUNS IN THE ELECTIONS?

Elections are contested by national political parties but once MEPs are elected, most of them join transnational political groups in the Parliament. Most national parties are affiliated to a European-wide political group (see below for more information) so one of the big questions on election night is which of these European groups will exert greater influence in the next legislative term.

HAVING A SAY ON WHO WILL LEAD THE COMMISSION

The EU member states, in the European Council, nominate a candidate for the office of the President of the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch. In doing so they must take account of the European election results. Parliament has to approve the new Commission President by an absolute majority. In the 2014 elections, Parliament introduced the system of lead candidates. Each European political party presented a candidate for President of the Commission. The party with the highest number of seats in the new Parliament could propose its candidate, on behalf of Parliament, for nomination to the Commission presidency.. In 2014, the candidate of the European People’s Party, Jean-Claude Juncker, was appointed as President of the Commission with the support of a majority in the Parliament.

At present, the system of lead candidates is not formally enshrined in the EU Treaties, however, but relies on an informal agreement between the European Council and the Parliament.

EUROPEAN POLITICAL PARTIES

A political group at European level is composed of national parties and individuals and is represented in several Member States. It is national parties that contest the European elections but their campaign will often be associated with a European political group. After the elections the national party’s delegates would join a political group in the European Parliament with like-minded parties from their political family.

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