Faces on divides: the May 2014 European elections

This study by Yves Bertoncini and Thierry Chopin analyses the main political and civic issues of the May 2014 European elections, and in particular the party divides structuring the functioning of the European Parliament and the ongoing electoral campaign.

The European elections that will take place from 22-25 May next are an important democratic event for European citizens. In this context, this study, co-written by Yves Bertoncini and Thierry Chopin and published by Robert Schuman Foundation and Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute, contains several extremely enlightening elements of information and analysis for the citizens invited to go to the polling booths.

The first part of this study firstly recalls the extent of powers exercised by the European Parliament (EP), the importance of political issues on which its members are requested to decide, but also the key role played by the political groups established within this institution.

The second part of this study presents the “variable-geometry majorities” that form within the EP, in relation to the issues put to the vote of the MEPs: “consensus majorities”, “broad-coalition majorities” and “confrontation majorities”, thanks to data provided by VoteWatch Europe. It clearly elucidates how the French and European MEPs voted in relation to their partisan beliefs, for the symbolic votes of the 2009-2014 parliamentary term.

Lastly, the third part of this study provides highly informative elements on the impact of the vote of 25 May next, based on available opinion polls, which predict a very indecisive struggle. It confirms that, given the proportional representation system in place, no political group will be able to take the majority of seats alone, and that majority coalitions will therefore continue to be formed.

It also recalls that it is in relation to the balance of power established by the European voters on the evening of 25 May, that the content of decisions within the EP will be determined for the five years to come.