As of Thursday, all the EU member countries are holding elections for the European Parliament
Ironically enough, it is precisely the Britons, who 3 years ago chose to leave the Union, are the first to hold the elections for the European Parliament this year. Alongside the Netherlands, the UK holds the vote for its representatives in Brussels on Thursday. And to make the irony even deeper, all polls on voter intentions predict a landslide victory of the anti-European Brexit Party.
On Friday elections are scheduled in Ireland and the Czech Republic, where the vote will continue on Saturday as well. Slovakia, Latvia and Malta will also have their elections on Saturday, whereas the rest of the member states, including Romania, will hold the ballot on Sunday.
All in all, over 400 million European citizens are invited to polling stations to elect the 751 MEPs for a 5-year term in office. These MEPs will adopt the EU legislation applicable in all member countries after having been ratified by each national parliament. The European Parliament also decides, together with the Commission, on the Union budget, it elects the president of the European Commission and then approves the list of European commissioners.
A first discussion on the topic is scheduled to take place in Brussels on May 28, shortly after the election concludes, in an informal meeting of European leaders called by the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk.
According to the most recent turnout estimates, over one-third of the European voters are certain they will cast their votes, whereas another one-third are still undecided. In the previous election, the overall turnout was 42%.
In Romania, taking part in the race are 13 political parties, in Power or in Opposition, represented in the Romanian Parliament or not, on the left or the right side of the political spectrum. Adding to these are 3 independent candidates. Romania will have 33 members in the new European Parliament makeup, but according to a European Council decision, one of these seats will only be assigned to a Romanian after Brexit has taken effect.
The Romanians living abroad will be able to vote in 441 polling stations, most of them in Italy and Spain, each of them home to around 1 million Romanians, and in the Republic of Moldova, a country with mostly Romanian-speaking population.
Concurrently with the European election, Romania also holds a referendum on the judiciary, initiated by President Klaus Iohannis. Essentially, citizens will be asked whether they agree to no longer have amnesty or pardons for corruption-related offences, and to prohibit the Government from passing emergency orders in the field of crime, punishments and the organisation of courts.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)