Tag Archives: universal suffrage

European electoral reform

The procedure in question is a report by veteran UK liberal MEP Andrew DUFF which is a proposal for a modification of the Act concerning the election of the Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage of September 20, 1976.

The work on creating a common electoral law has been going on for a long time already, since 1976. Why? From the constitutional perspective, it is a very important law which needs to be updated every now and then. The reform will introduce a number of changes to the present act – i.e. establishment of transnational voting lists.

The report comes amid continuing concern about the so-called “democratic deficit” between the EU and citizens, and the democratic function of the European Parliament is acknowledged by the public only to a certain extent. On the European level, political parties are rather still at the beginning of their development and the electoral battles take place more on the national than European level. It would then mean that the candidates could be set up in both transnational and national constituencies.

Some more examples of the changes the reform would introduce:

  • Preferential semi-open list system – citizens have the right to vote for both an individual candidate and for a list.
  • Territorial constituencies on a regional basis should be introduced in all those States with a population of more than 20 million.
  • The total number of elected Members shall be 751, with a minimum of six Members per State, and a maximum of 96.
  • An electoral authority, comprised of representatives of the EP, the Commission and each Member State, shall be established to conduct and verify the electoral process of the EU constituency.
  • EU-wide lists submitted by the European political parties shall be admissible only: a) if composed of candidates from at least 1/3 of the States, and b) if gender-balanced.
  • Each voter shall have one extra vote that he or she can give to an EU constituency candidate.
  • There shall be no minimum threshold for the allocation of seats from the EU constituency.
  • The minimum age to be eligible to vote in the European parliamentary elections will be 16; the minimum age to be eligible will be 18; this provision should encourage young people to participate more in elections.
  • Candidates may stand at the same election both for EU-wide and national or regional constituencies.
  • Polling days for the elections to the European Parliament shall be a Saturday and Sunday in May. It would be for this very reason that the EP could then organise its work more smoothly and therefore accelerate the election of the new President of the Commission. It would also allow to avoid the beginning of the summer recess in many member states. Right now polling days for the elections run from Thursday to Sunday in June.
  • If the e-polling is guaranteed to be reliable in both technical and legal terms, the e-polling techniques shall be used as soon as the 2014 elections.

For more information, please read:

Europarliament: “On a proposal for a modification of the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage of 20 September 1976(2007/2207(INI))”