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Recently there have been elections in India, 'The world's biggest democracy'. This month we will have elections for the European Parliament - the worlds second biggest electorate. Electorates don't seem to take the European Parliament as seriously as their own parliament and will often use it as an opportunity for a protest vote. First past the post is not used in selecting winners so each constituency has multiple members and you are effectively voting for a party list rather than a particular candidate. There are 375 million voters selecting 766 members of Parliament.

See below for the parties competing and their relative strength.

See for details. A lot of what is below is summarised from that page.

The rules of the European Parliament are set up so that you can only get recognition as a group if you have 25 members from 7 different countries. This is to encourage parties to form international alliances rather than national blocks. Competing this year we have 7 different groups, each an alliance of parties in at least 7 different countries. From right to left these are:

Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD). This seems to be more or less like the tea party. Their main policy is that they don't really trust the European Union and would like a lot (or all) of powers returned to the nations, particularly control over immigration from the newer, poorer EU nations (Bulgaria (don't say Turks) and Romania (don't say Gippos)). They got 4.3% of the vote and 32 seats last time.

European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). These like more mainstream Republicans. The biggest party in this group are the UK Conservatives. Like the EFD they are suspicious of the EU and like to campaign as 'Euro skeptics' - promising a pragmatic review of European integration proposals in contrast with other parties which see working to build a better Europe as something worth doing. They got 7% of the vote and 57 seats last time.

European People's Party (EPP). These seem to be like the Democrats in the USA. A center right party but interested in keeping sensible regulation and welfare provisions and claiming to manage these better than the more left wing parties. They got 36% of the vote and 265 seats last time and were the biggest party.

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). This is a grouping of parties across Europe who self identify as Liberals. These actually have quite a range of opinions from - some tending to Libertarianism, others emphasising the  need to make sure everyone has a fair chance. Maybe this is the Elizabeth Warren wing of the US Democrat party. They got 11% of the vote and 84 seats last time making them the third largest group.

Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). These are the mainline socialist and labor parties. Don't know who in the USA matches these. Bernie Sanders? They got 25% of the vote and 184 seats last time making them the second largest group.

The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens-EFA). This groups together various Green, Separatist and Pirate parties. Whether they are to the left or to the right of the Socialists depends on how you look a it. They are better than the socialists on individual rights. The socialists tend to be tied closely to the unions. They got 7.5% of the vote and 55 seats last time - just ahead of the ECR for fourth place.

European United Left–Nordic Green Left (EUL-NGL). These are the various Communist and left parties. They got 4.8% of the vote and 35 seats last time, just ahead of the EFD.

According to Wikipedia (link above then scroll down) the polls say the EPP and S&D are neck and neck for first place with ALDE in third and the ECR and Greens neck and neck for fourth so some gains for the socialists but not a lot of change from last time. The vote will be on May 22, 23, 24 or 25 depending on which day of the week the various countries traditionally hold elections.

This probably means that, like last time, the legislation that the goes ahead is anything the PPD and the S&D can agree on. Committees in the European parliament do real scrutiny however and one of the perqs of being in a group (rather than an independent) is that the group gets members on those committees. A member who is prepared to do the work and research can have a real influence on the details in those committees.


Who would you vote for?

30%4 votes
0%0 votes
7%1 votes
23%3 votes
15%2 votes
15%2 votes
7%1 votes

| 13 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  A bit of filler (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, FG, VeggiElaine

    EFD are as you say basically nationalist nutters. They include such illuminaries as Nigel Farrage, the leader of UKIP who decries EU citizens being able to work in the UK but uses his EP allowance to pay his German wife as his office manager. Apart from their extreme far right craziness, they do not share any philosophy other than forming a group to get the status and financial benefits that accrue.

    ECR was effectively formed by the British Conservative Party members who verge on UKIP and formed it because the EPP was too left wing.

    The EPP are in European terms center-right which puts them firmly in the US Democratic Party area.

    ALDE as you say combine both social and economic liberal parties. This reflects the situation in the UK Liberal Democrats. In other countries with more diverse parties, there can be two or more national parties under the ALDE umbrella. The Netherlands for example has MEPs from both the socially liberal D66 (Democraten 66) and the economically liberal VVD (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie)

    One point to note is that counting of votes does not start until Sunday when the last countries vote even though the ballots are earlier. The UK for example votes on Thursdays.

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:14:08 AM PDT

  •  It will be interesting to see how UK Tories do (0+ / 0-)

    since, somewhat surprisingly, I believe there's been an uptick in their favorables in the UK. Is there info on how Labour, Lib-Dems, and Conservatives did in the last EP election? I wouldn't be surprised if the Liberals rather embarassing mistressship (hard to call it a marriage since they got so little from it) with the Tories will hurt them.

    •  The UKIP factor (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Unfortunately UKIP is a big threat to all three major parties in the UK, the Conservatives in particular. Farrage is a sort of British Chris Christie without the weight. Despite his stupid policies and near corruption (he used the allowance he gets that is intended to publicise HIS work in the EP to fund the party and I have already mentioned employing his wife which would not be allowed at Westminster) his image is one of "the bloke in the pub you would have a pint with".

      The only saving grace is one of the ex-MEPs (I forget what blunder or stupid statement he was expelled for) set up another party with a very similar name and they are fielding candidates in many, if not most, seats at least in England.

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:30:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  UK members of the European Parliament (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Ra

      The UK is divided into 12 multi-member regions, for European elections. The 9 English regions, Scotland and Wales use a party list system of proportional representation. Northern Ireland has three members and uses the single transferable vote system, like the Republic of Ireland.

      At the last European Election, the UK representation was very fragmented. I have taken the figures from Wikipedia. At the time of the 2009 election, the UK had 72 seats. The Conservatives won 25, UKIP and Labour 13 each, the Liberal Democrats 11, Green Party of England and Wales 2, British National Party (fascists, fortunately in decline and unlikely to be re-elected) 2, Scottish National Party 2 and Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) had 1. The 3 Northern Ireland seats went 1 each to Sinn Fein, the Democratic Unionist Party and a short lived alliance of the Conservatives and the Ulster Unionist Party.

      There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

      by Gary J on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:35:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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