At stake in this election:
- 732 seats in the European Parliament
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: President of the European Commission Romano PRODI *
- Head of Government: NA NA
- Assembly: European Union has a unicameral European Parliament with 732 seats.
* The European Commission is composed of 20 commissioners nominated by the member states and confirmed by the European Parliament. The Commission is charged with the initiation and implementation of EU policies.
The European Council is composed of the heads of state or government of all European Union member states and serves as the Union's chief decision-making body.
Description of electoral system:
- The President of the European Commission is designated by member governments.
- In the European Parliament 732 members are allocated to serve 5-year terms.***
The Parliament is responsible for drafting legislation, adopting the Union budget, and supervising European Community activities. As the EU's only popularly elected institution, the Parliament is also charged with representing the people's interests within the EU.
The type of electoral system used to select Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) varies in each member state. In general, proportional representation systems are used in all EU member states except the Republic of Ireland, which uses the single transferable vote (STV), and the United Kingdom, which uses a simple majority system or 'first past the post' (FPTP).
Seats in the European Parliament are distributed across the 25 member states according to population.
Representatives of the political parties of individual member states sit in the European Parliament according to their political group affiliation. The number of MEPs required to form a political group varies according to the number of member states represented.
Main parties in the electoral race:
- Party: Group of the European People's Party and European Democrats (PPE-DE)
Leader: Hans-Gert POETTERING
Seats won in this election: 278
Seats won in last election: 295
- Party: Group of the Party of European Socialists (PSE)
Leader: Enrique Barón CRESPO
Seats won in this election: 199
Seats won in last election: 232
- Party: Group of the European Liberal, Democrat, and Reform Party (ELDR)
Leader: Werner HOYER
Seats won in this election: 67
Seats won in last election: 67
- Party: Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Verts/ALE)
Leader: Monica FRASSONI and Dany COHN-BENDIT
Seats won in this election: 41
Seats won in last election: 47
- Party: Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)
Leader: Francis WURTZ
Seats won in this election: 39
Seats won in last election: 55
- Party: Union for Europe of the Nations Group (UEN)
Leader: M. Charles PASQUA
Seats won in this election: 27
Seats won in last election: 30
- Party: Group for a Europe of Democracies and Diversities (EDD)
Leader: Jens-Peter BONDE
Seats won in this election: 15
Seats won in last election: 17
Last Parliamentary election:
- The last parliamentary election was held on June 10-13, 1999. In this election, only 626 seats were contested since the European Union only had 15 members.
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 454,018,500 ( 2004 approx.)
- Registered Voters: 350,000,000 ( approx.)