The Electoral System for Elections to the European Parliament: A Comparison of the Original and the Newly Admitted Countries
Abstract: This paper compares electoral systems in two groups of EU states: the original member countries and the countries admitted to the EU in 2004. No essential difference was found between the two groups. The old members are less heterogeneous in terms of districts magnitudes, closing formula and derived thresholds; in the newly admitted countries this range is three times smaller. Both groups show much the same signs, as regards the type of the proportional formula, the method of transference of votes to mandates, and the possibility of the voters to influence the personal composition of the mandate. This raises the question of how this difference is reflected in parameters characterizing the party system and the share of unused votes. The data reveal that the two subsystems produced a basically identical number of parties (4.3 or 4.5), but in the newly admitted countries this distribution of mandates was achieved with a disproportion one third greater.
Keywords: Elections, European Union, original member states, new member states