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How do European elections work?

The UK is set to take part in the elections on May 23. Credit: PA

As the latest Brexit deadline is set for October this means the UK will take part in the next European Parliament elections.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will only take up the role for a few months but the election could prove to be more important than ever.

Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming vote:

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are elected every five years. Credit: AP

When are the elections?

Polls open at 7am on Thursday May 23, for voting and close at 10pm.

Results are due to be announced on May 26 as many European countries hold their elections on a Sunday.

The last election was held in 2014 as MEPs are elected every five years.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani speaks at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Credit: AP

Can you vote in the elections?

British, EU or Commonwealth citizen residents who are 18 years old and older can vote in the UK.

In England, Scotland and Wales you have only one vote to elect the MEPs for your region.

Whereas in Northern Ireland voters rank their candidates in order of preference known as a Single Transferable Vote.

What are the elections for?

There are currently 751 seats to represent the 28 European Union member countries.

73
Members in the UK who work at the European Parliament.

Across the 12 European electoral regions in UK, between three and 10 MEPs are elected to represent its population.

The UK had the joint third most MEPs in 2014, whereas Germany has the most with 96 MEPs for its 82 million people.

What do MEPs do?

MEPs act on behalf of their region to shape and determine legislation and they also vote on trade agreements

By the end of 2018, MEPs had held more than 27,000 votes during their term.

MEPs candidates run as part of a political party but many choose to join a transnational political group once they have been elected.

At least 25 MEPs are needed to form a group, it must represent at least one-quarter of the Member States and no member can be a part of multiple groups.

European Council President Donald Tusk, center right, and Romanian President Klaus Werner Ioannis, center left, wave during a group photo of EU leaders at an EU summit in Sibiu, Romania, Thursday, May 9, 2019. Credit: AP

How is this election different?

Turnout for the UK was around 7% lower than the EU average during the last election but it's expected this will be higher this year because of Brexit.

MEPs from the UK can only serve until October 31, 2019, the latest agreed Brexit leave deadline.

There are two newly registered parties hoping to get MEPs elected.

Change UK - the break-off MPs formally known as the Independent group - have 70 candidates up for election.

Former UKIP and Independent MEP Nigel Farage is standing under his newly formed Brexit party.

However, unknown members being elected is not an impossible idea as just under half of all MEPs were new to the Parliament last year.