Importance of Strategic Voting

But of course it is up to the voters to decide whether they want to make a choice of national influence or not, which supposes privileging political parties that have a high profile in the European Parliament.

The Danger of Abstention

A low turn out rate in the European elections mechanically promotes the dissenter parties, whose electorate tends to mobilise more; they will then have a higher number of representatives than their real political weight would in fact allow them to dream of having. The over-representation of these parties within the European Parliament is all the stronger since it is the proportional vote that is applied in the European elections.

Low turn out in the European elections also has a negative effect from the point of view of a country’s national influence either in Strasbourg or Brussels.

The abstentionists who choose to vote for representatives who are notably called to sit within influential groups in the European Parliament must be aware that their “non-vote” contributes towards weakening their country’s ability to influence events. within the European Parliament. Again, greater awareness that the European elections are not peripheral or secondary should encourage the electorate to assess the effect their choice will have.

The Importance of Strategic Voting

The intermediary nature of the European elections sometimes gives rise to protest votes that aim to punish governments in power, and even the traditional parties.

If the protest vote benefits the government parties on the opposition benches it can enhance their weight within influential groups within the European Parliament : this is what happened in France in 2004 with the high score achieved by the Socialist Party which enabled it to send 31 MEPs to Strasbourg and have the larger national delegation within the PES group.

But if the protest vote benefits smaller or extremist parties it produces scattering of votes that can damage national influence, when the representatives of these parties sit amongst groups which have limited or even no political weight, if they are “not attached”.

The choice of the protest vote with regard to the national ruling parties or the construction of Europe is perfectly legitimate. But its effects in terms of national influence in the European Parliament should be stressed to a greater extent.

The importance of the “strategic vote” is all the more important since the European election, which is proportional, does not select the dominant parties alone.