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Explained: The European Elections

The European elections are for seats at the European Parliament in Brussels Credit: PA Images

Voters across the UK will take part in European Elections to elect their MEP on May 23.

But, as the latest Brexit deadline is set for October those elected to be a Member of the European Parliament (MEPs) will only take up the role for a few months.

The North has a total of six MEP spaces to fill, a full list of candidates is available here.

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

1
When are the European elections?

Polls open at 7am on Thursday May 23 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.

2
How do the elections work?

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

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

Votes are cast using a version of proportional representation known as a D'Hondt system.

This means voters choose to vote for a party or independent candidates. The seats are then distributed according to how many votes the party wins.

If parties win enough votes to be allocated a seat, or seats, they'll be given to the candidates from the top downwards on their lists.

The UK is set to take part in the elections on May 23. Credit: PA Images
3
What are the elections for?

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

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.

4
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.

5
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.