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APATHY THE ONLY CERTAIN EURO WINNER

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Sunday Business (p18) carried a feature, complete with graphics and a forecast of the UK European parliament electi...
Sunday Business (p18) carried a feature, complete with graphics and a forecast of the UK European parliament election results, by Professor John Curtice, looking at turnouts across the EU and explaining the new UK voting system.

Prof Curtice, of the University of Strathclyde, says in most EU countries fewer voters turn out for European elections than for their own national election. Where this is not the case it is usually either because voting is compulsory or because the Euro elections have been

held on the same day as national elections. Moreover, across Europe as a whole, turnout has fallen from 63% in the first election in 1979 to 57% in the last contest five years ago.

Even so, at each of the last four European elections, the UK has been in the premier league for apathy. Nowhere else has a lack of interest been so consistently high. Last time just 36% turned out, though that was at least better than in the first election when just 31% voted.

No longer is Britain divided into 84 separate Euro constituencies. Instead, there are 11 regions, each electing several members. The smallest region, the north-east, will elect four MEPs while the largest, the south-east, elects 11. No longer will voters put a cross against the name of an individual candidate, but will be invited to choose a party list. Within each region seats will be allocated to the party lists in proportion to the votes they win. The candidates elected will automatically be those that the parties have put towards the top of their lists.
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