You are here: Home | About the election

About the election

The European Parliament represents people living in the twenty eight Member Countries of the European Union.

List of Member Countries
 Austria  Italy
 Belgium  Latvia
 Bulgaria  Lithuania
 Croatia  Luxembourg
 Cyprus  Malta
 Czech Republic  Netherlands
 Denmark  Poland
 Estonia  Portugal
 Finland  Romania
 France  Slovakia
 Germany  Slovenia
 Greece  Spain
 Hungary  Sweden
 Ireland  UK

Elections for the European Parliament are held every five years and the next elections will take place on 22 May 2014. In the North West more than 5 million people will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives in the European Parliament (known as Members of the European Parliament or MEPs). There are 8 seats available in the North West.

The European Parliamentary Elections are run using a form of proportional representation. Voters have one vote only, and this can be cast for either a political party or an independent candidate. Each political party puts forward a list of candidates and the number of MEPs that are elected from each party to represent the North West will depend on the overall share of the vote that party receives.

MEPs represent the whole of the North West region and so everybody who is eligible to vote in the region will be voting for the same list of parties and candidates.

The North West is made up of 39 local authority areas and each one has a Local Returning Officer who is responsible for running the election in their area. This includes producing the register of electors, sending out postal votes, running polling stations and counting the votes cast in that area.

Once all votes have been counted the Local Returning Officer reports the number of votes cast for each party to the Regional Returning Officer, who adds up all votes cast in the 39 local authority areas and will allocate the seats to using a form of proportional representation.

The results of the election cannot be declared until all polls have closed across Europe and so the results of the elections in the North West will be declared after 9pm on Sunday 25 May.