EPRS Admin By / April 11, 2014

Voting system and number of MEPs

Voting system and number of MEPs

Voting system and number of MEPs

The EP currently has 766 MEPs (754 + 12 for Croatia which joined in 2013). After the 2014 elections, this will be reduced to 751 MEPs (Article 14(2) TEU).
Resolution of 13 March 2013 on the composition of the European Parliament with a view to the 2014 elections / European Parliament.
MEPs are elected according to national electoral systems, but these have to observe certain common provisions established by EU law such as proportional representation. As a general rule, voters can choose between political parties, individual candidates or both. While in some MS, voters can only vote for a list, without the possibility to change the order of candidates on the list (closed list), in other MS voters can express their preference for one or more of the candidates (preferential voting). Depending on the degree of liberty voters enjoy when casting their preferential vote, we can distinguish between semi-open lists, where voters can change the position of one or all candidates on one chosen list, and open lists, where voters can vote for candidates from different lists. Instead of a list system some MS use the single transferable vote (STV). Under this system the voter has one vote but can rank the candidates in order of their first, second, third, etc. choice. To be elected, a candidate needs to receive a minimum number of votes.
Electoral systems: the link between governance, elected members and voters / European Parliament, Office for Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy, 2011.
Whilst in the majority of MS the national territory forms a single electoral constituency for the European elections, six MS have divided their territories into multiple constituencies: BE, FR, IE, IT, PL, UK.
Study on possible developments of EU legislation in the field of electoral matters including possible modification of Directive 93/109/EC / Instituto Europeo de Derecho (IED), 2010.


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