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The process for electing members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is different from that we are familiar with for General Elections.  73 MEPs are elected across 11 constituencies: nine in England, and one in each of Scotland and Wales.

Each constituency has a different number of representatives based on its population.  For example, the South East elects 10 MEPs, whilst the North East elects three.

The process uses a form of proportional representation known as the D’Hondt formula, devised by a Belgian mathematician Victor D’Hondt in the 19th century.

Each party orders their MEPs for each constituency before the elections.  If the party wins seats, MEPs receive them in this order.

The first seat in a constituency goes to the party with the most votes.  This party’s votes is then divided by two, and the results are re-ordered.  The party who now has the most votes receives the second seat; if a party receives a second seat, its total number of votes is then divided by three.  The process continues in this way until all seats are awarded.

This differs from the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system used in Northern Ireland, which allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, choosing as many or as few as they would like.

Politics applicants might compare these different voting systems, considering their advantages and disadvantages, along with any other systems in place worldwide.

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Oxbridge Applications. 14 – 16 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AR


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