How MEPs are elected in Poland

Elections to the European Parliament in Poland will take place on Sunday 26 May 2019, together with 20 other EU countries. Only 6 countries have elections on Thursday, Friday or Saturday ahead of the Sunday vote. The Polish elections have their specificity. In this blog we outline the way the elections in Poland are organised.

There will be 52 MEPs elected in Poland. The Polish nationals who live permanently abroad have a choice: they can either vote in Poland for a Polish list, or in the country they reside in. Voting in two countries, however, is illegal. If you are a non-Polish EU citizen residing in Poland, you can – and you should – vote in the European elections. You have a choice, too. You can vote in Poland or in the country you come from.

You should not forget: if you are not a Polish citizen, you can also put yourself as a candidate, provided you reside in the country for at least five years (and you need to be at least 21 years old)!

Yes, 52 MEPs, not 51. There were 51 MEPs elected last time in 2014. The change is a result of the reshuffling of mandates among countries following the Brexit scheduled for 29 March 2019. There will be 705 MEPs from 27 member states. The share of the Poland-elected MEPs increases from 6.7% to 7.4%. The European Parliament becomes a little bit more Polish!

Poland, unlike most countries, is not treated as a single constituency. There are multiple constituencies in the country. The lists are closed, but there is a preferential voting. That means that your vote will a) determine which list gets your vote, and b) who on this list gets the seat, or if more than one seat is attributed to that list, who are the people and in what order the mandates are allocated among them.

13 constituencies in Poland. Source: Wikipedia

There is a 5% threshold for the lists, country-wide. You can vote if you are 18 or older. You wondered this is obvious? In Austria already 16 year old person can vote. And in Greece it is enough to be 17 years old to cast a ballot.

The mandates are allocated to the lists who got at least 5% of the vote. The method used to determine mandates is called the d’Hondt method, but there is another competition… it is a competition between the regions. If the turnout is particularly low in one region (see above) the region may end up with no mandate allocated to it! Clearly the Poles tried to be innovative and creative when this electoral law was adopted. To determine the mandates between the regions the Hare-Niemeyer method is used.




One thought on “How MEPs are elected in Poland

Leave a Reply