: IT’S ALL ABOUT VOTING
Eligible voters in the UK vote to send representatives to the European Parliament.
The European Parliament is made up of 766 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who are elected by 28 European Union member countries.
The UK is represented by 73 MEPs within this are members of the mainstream political parties and also smaller parties such as the UK Independence Party Leader Nigel Farage and the British National Party. In the UK, there are 12 European electoral regions and each region is represented by between three and ten MEPs.
MEPs split their time between their regional constituencies in the UK and Brussels, Belgium. For one week in every month they go to Strasbourg to debate and vote on new European laws with MEPs from other EU member countries.
How do you elect people?
In a UK European Parliamentary election, you have one vote to elect all of your MEPs. Each party puts forward a list of candidates known as a regional list and you vote for one of these lists or for an individual candidate standing as an independent. The number of MEPs that are elected from each party to represent a region depends on the overall share of votes that each party receives.
In Northern Ireland, there is a different voting system, the single transferable vote. You vote by ranking the candidates in order of preference.
When do you elect people?
Elections for the European Parliament take place every five years. The next election is scheduled for 22 May 2014 with the UK Independence Party looking to make significant gains by picking up voters who usually vote for the mainstream political parties.