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European Elections

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There are elections for the European Parliament every five years. They happen in all EU member states. The next European elections will be in 2019.

The last elections were in the period 22nd-25th May 2014. In the UK they were on 22nd May 2014.

The UK elects 73 Members of the European Parliament.

In the UK you have to be over 18 and a British citizen or an EU or Commonwealth citizen resident in the UK in order to vote in European parliamentary elections. You also have to be on the electoral roll. If you're an EU citizen, but not a British citizen then you additionally have to sign a form for the Electoral Commission stating that you will only vote in the UK and not in your country of citizenship. The queen cannot vote in elections!

We have 12 electoral districts in the UK: one each for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England has nine because of its larger population. Each district elects between 3 and 10 MEPs, depending on how many people live there.  

In 2014 there were 724 candidates from 41 parties who stood in the European elections in the UK.

Once elected the new MEPs take office on 1st July 2014.

The voting system is proportional representation. We use the d'Hondt system in England, Wales and Scoalnd and the Single Transferable Vote in Northern Ireland.

Parties put forward lists of candidates. If the party gets enough votes for one seat in the Parliament then the person at the top of their list gets a seat.  If the party gets enough votes for two seats then their two top people get seats , if they have enough for three seats etc.

751 MEPs were elected in total from the 28 EU member states.

Once elected, MEPs from different EU countries form political groups together with MEPs who have similar political ideologies. For example, MEPs from Green parties all sit together, regardless of which country they're from. A political group must consist of at least 25 MEPs, from at least 7 different countries.

Results can only be declared after the last polling station in the EU has closed. This was in Italy where people could vote up to 11pm CET on Sunday 25th May. People in the UK and the Netherlands therefore had to wait three days for their national results.