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8th European Parliamentary Election 2014

May 29, 2014 14:22 IST

The 8th European Parliamentary Election 2014 was held from 22 May 2014 to 25 May 2014. The turnout in the elections averaged 43.1 percent, a shade higher than the 2009 turnout at 43 percent.

European Parliamentary Election 2014

Votes for the European elections were cast across the 28 member states of European Union (EU). The elections were held for 751 members of European Parliament (MEPs) from 11 regional constituencies covering Great Britain and Gibraltar.

In the United Kingdom, it was the anti-EU and anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) under the leadership of Nigel Farage that stormed to victory with 27.5 per cent of the vote, and 24 of the 73 seats the UK has in the European parliament.

The Labour Party came second with 25.4 per cent with 20 MEPs, Conservatives just under 24 per cent with 19 MEPs, the Green Party 7.87 per cent and 3 seats, the Scottish National Party 2.46 per cent and 2 seats, and the Liberal Democrats faring the worst, with 6.87 per cent of the vote and just one seat.

France and Germany both saw a surge in eurosceptic votes. In France, Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front National Party won. While in Germany the Christian Democrats though still dominant lost seats, and the anti-EU AfD made a breakthrough.

In Denmark, the far-right Danish Peoples Party triumphed, won 27 per cent of the vote and doubling its MEPs from two to four.

In Spain the ruling Popular Party inched past the opposition Socialist party, won 16 out of the 54 seats against the Socialists’ tally of 14.

In Greece, the left Syriza party led by Alexis Tsipras emerged the victor with 26.5 per cent of the vote, with the New Democracy party won just 22.7 per cent of the vote.

Analysis

The centre-right European People's Party won the most seats, but came up well short of a majority. In Denmark, France, and Great Britain rightist groups opposed to the European Union won unprecedented victories.

Elsewhere, populist parties won significant seats. In total, roughly a quarter of all seats went to parties skeptical of the EU or protest parties. Thus, the election was seen as anti-establishment.

In France, the Front National Party has beaten both the mainstream parties in this election, capturing 26 per cent of the vote share.

The other topper is the stridently anti-immigrant and EU-sceptic UK Independence Party that trounced the ruling Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party. The extreme left party in Greece has emerged as the other major anti-establishment platform in these polls; not to mention small inroads made by Germany’s new party that is sceptical of the Eurozone rather than the EU itself.

Process of Election

Elections to the European Parliament take place every five years by universal adult suffrage. 751 MEPs are directly elected to the European Parliament since 1979.

Each member state has the right to elect a fixed number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The allocation of seats is laid down in the European treaties on the basis of the principle of degressive proportionality: countries with a larger population have more seats than smaller countries, but the latter have more seats than strict proportionality would imply.

For the 2014 election, according to the Lisbon Treaty, the number of MEPs ranges from six for Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Estonia to 96 for Germany.

Voting System

There is no uniform voting system for the election of MEPs; rather, each member state is free to choose its own system, subject to three restrictions:

•    The system must be a form of proportional representation, under either the party list or the single transferable vote system.
•    The electoral area may be subdivided if this will not generally affect the proportional nature of the voting system.
•    Any election threshold at the national level must not exceed five percent.

Eligibility of Voter

Each Member State has different rules determining who can vote for and run as the European Parliamentary candidates.

Every EU citizen residing in an EU country of which he/she is not a national has the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in European Parliamentary elections in his/her country of residence,

Process to choose President

The Lisbon Treaty which entered into force on 1 December 2009 provides that the European Parliament shall elect the president of the European Commission on the basis of a proposal made by the European Council, taking into account the European elections. This provision applied for the first time for the 2014 elections.

The leaders of the parliament's seven groups met on 27 May 2014 to discuss the name of the new president of the European Commission.

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