The European Parliament (EP) elections are taking place today in Slovakia. The election day dates among other European Union member states range from May 22 to 25.

Slovaks will elect 13 members of the EP, also known as MEPs, which is also the number of candidates each party is allowed to run on its slate. Most of the 29 parties or coalitions of parties who have submitted slates for the elections have filled all 13 slots.

Voters can give preferential votes to two candidates on the slate of their choosing.

EU citizens who are 18 years of age or older as of the day of the elections are eligible to vote. Citizens with permanent residence in a state other than their native member state vote in the state where they have permanent residence if they have previously registered to vote in the EP elections there. Conditions for registration differ from country to country.

The EP is the only directly-elected EU institution, which was established to defend the interests of citizens in decision-making in the EU. The first EU elections were held in 1979. Before that, national parliaments of the members states appointed MEPs.

This will be Slovakia’s third EP election since its accession in 2004.

Politicians and observers of the Slovak political scene have expressed concerns about the voter turnout. Slovakia has been notorious for its low voter turnout in EP elections ever since they were first held in the country after joining the EU in 2004. While in 2009 only 19.64 percent of the voters came out to vote, even fewer – 16.96 percent – took part in the country’s first ever European elections in 2004.

Compiled by Spectator staff

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