Finland’s president counts among the early voters in the European Union’s parliamentary poll, on the eve of history’s biggest transborder elections. In all, 375 million voters could take part. Polling is from this Thursday to Sunday.
The UK and the Netherlands start the thing off in earnest tomorrow, followed by Ireland and the Czechs on Friday. Several more countries do it on Saturday, with the bulk of the 27 EU states opening their polling stations on Sunday, for people to choose who will represent them in the European Parliament. Surveys suggest conservative parties will outperform socialists, but abstention forecasts are at a record high, and national discontent is a wild card. Proportional representation is the rule. It is even possible from orbit! Belgian astronaut Frank de Winne sent this message: “I have arranged to vote by proxy so I won’t miss out the next European elections while I am up here. I hope you will also vote for the European elections from June 4 until 7. Where ever you are and what ever political views you have. Make your voice heard.” The euro-parliamentarians (736) will take office for a five-year term. The assembly is the only EU institution directly elected by universal suffrage.