The next Elections to the European Parliament will be held on 23–26 May 2019.
A total of 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) currently represent some 500 million people from 28 member states. In February 2018, the European Parliament voted to decrease the number of MEPs from 751 to 705, after the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union on the current schedule.
The number of MEPs for each country is decided at European level, and the election has to be conducted under the principle of proportional representation. Detailed voting laws (such as how old voters need to be, or what day people vote) and the detail of the electoral system are up to individual member countries and therefore vary between countries.
The Netherlands will vote on Thursday 23 May, Ireland will vote on Friday 24 May and Malta on Saturday 25 May. Voting in most countries takes place on Sunday. Votes will be counted and results announced on Sunday and Monday.
Parties and candidates
The Spitzenkandidat process involves the nomination by European political parties of candidates for the role of Commission President, the party winning the most seats in Parliament receiving the first opportunity to attempt to form a majority in Parliament to back their candidate (akin to how Prime Ministers are elected in national parliamentary democracies). This process was first used in 2014, and was opposed by some in the Council. The future of the process is uncertain, but the Parliament has attempted to codify the process and the parties are almost certain to select the candidates again. On 23 January 2018, the Constitutional Affairs Committee adopted a text stating that the Spitzenkandidat process could not be overturned, and that Parliament “will be ready to reject any candidate in the investiture procedure of the commission president who was not appointed as a Spitzenkandidat in the run-up to the European elections”.
In May 2018, a Eurobarometer poll suggested that 49% of the 27,601 individuals from all 28 EU countries surveyed think that the Spitzenkandidat process will help them vote in the next European elections, while 70% also think that the process requires a “real debate” on European issues.
European People’s Party
The incumbent, Jean-Claude Juncker, has stated he will not seek a second term as President.
At their 2018 Congress in Helsinki the EPP elected Manfred Weber as their Spitzenkandidat for President of the European Commission.
Party of European Socialists
PES previous candidate, Martin Schulz, left the European Parliament in 2017 to head the German Social Democratic Party, but has stepped down from the latter position in 2018.
Two candidates were nominated by PES member parties and organizations:
Maroš Šefčovič announced his withdrawal in November and supported Frans Timmermans as the Common Candidate.
The PES will convene an extraordinary Congress in Lisbon to ratify the election of the candidate and to vote upon the Manifesto.
European Green Party
Like in 2014, the Greens adopted the principle to have two leading candidates for the European Elections 2019. Unlike in 2014 where the candidates were chosen through an open online primary elections, the two leading candidates will be elected by the Council of the Party in Berlin in November 2018. Four people, two of them being currently MEPs, have declared their candidacy:
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats
Sources and further reading:
European Parliament official information on the elections
Google’s plan to protect European election
Battle lines drawn ahead European Parliamentary elections