The Common Rules

In expectation of the adoption of a uniform electoral procedure for all Member States as planned in the Rome Treaty of 1957, procedures are defined by each State.

However some rules are common with regard to the election of MPs in all of the 27 Member States:

• Direct Universal Suffrage

Since 1979, when the first European Elections took place MEPs have been elected by direct universal suffrage in every Member State.

• Proportional Voting
Since 1999 the election has taken place according to a proportional representation system.

Definition : Each party puts a list of candidates forward to the voters. Depending on the State there are four distinct systems in how voters choose their candidate(s): the preferential vote, closed list vote, the mixed vote and the single transferable vote.

• A five-year renewable term in office
Every new election gives rise to a major renewal in the European hemicycle.

• Incompatibility of mandates
An MEP’s mandate is incompatible with all other roles in the community institutions and organisations. The role of MEP is incompatible with that of the national MP (UK and Ireland were exceptions to this rule in the 2004 elections). The rule is now applied in all Member States.

→ To find out more about the incompatibility of mandates, click here