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European elections 2019: Latest updates and your guide to understanding how they work

24 May 2019 euronews

Europe is voting in one of its most important elections in decades as right-wing populism threatens the traditional social democrat-socialist axis.

Stay with us on this page for updates throughout the weekend before our special live coverage from 18h CEST on Sunday.

We'll have correspondents posted across Europe bringing you the latest results, expert analysis and reaction.

What’s happening?

Europeans are electing 751 MEPs to represent them in Brussels and Strasbourg over the next five years.

Despite the looming spectre of Brexit, the UK kicked off voting on Thursday, but most countries will cast their ballots on Sunday.

What is the latest news?Rolling blog updatesWhen will we know the results?

There have already been exit polls from the Netherlands indicating a victory for the Dutch Labour Party.

Official results are expected to come in from 22h CEST on Sunday.

What do MEPs do?

MEPs are elected to represent regions in some countries, like Italy, while in others, such as Germany, they have the whole country as their constituency.

They will serve a five-year term (2019-2024) and spend their time between European parliaments in Strasbourg and Brussels.

The number each country gets its proportional to its population.

Germany, the most populous, will get 96 MEPs for its 82.8 million people, while tiny Malta, with 475,000 people, has just six.

They pass EU laws and approve its budget, along with the European Council, which comprises the heads of state of each country.

MEPs represent individual countries or regions but in parliament sit in transnational groups according to political ideology.

For example, there are groupings to represent the centre-right, socialists, greens and others for eurosceptics.

MEPs also help choose the president of the European Commission, the EU’s civil service.

The largest political grouping after May’s election has the strongest mandate to have its choice head up the commission.

Last time around that was the European People’s Party, who managed to get its candidate, Jean-Claude Juncker, into the hot seat.

The process is that another body, The European Council, comprising chiefs of EU countries, first votes on a nominee chosen after taking into account the election result.

If they approve the candidate, it goes to the European Parliament, where he or she must get the support of a majority of MEPs.

Only then does he or she become president of the European Commission.

EU election picture gallery

The best photos from voting in the elections

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