European Parliament Elections Kick Off as Dutch Polling Stations Open

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The election results will not be made public until all EU member states have held their elections by Monday.

On Thursday, the European Parliament elections kicked off with the opening of polling stations in the Netherlands, the first of the European Union’s (EU) 27 member states to vote.

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A total of 720 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will be elected, with 31 seats allocated to the Netherlands. The election process will continue until next Monday. In most other member states, residents will cast their votes on Sunday.

The polling stations are open from 7:30 a.m. local time until 9:00 p.m., with only a few special polling stations allowed to open earlier. This will be the 10th time for EU member countries to vote for their MEPs, with the first such elections held in 1979.

Important themes of concern to the voters are migration, defense and international security, the fight against crime and terror, and climate change, among others.

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In the last such elections in 2019, the PvdA (Labor Party) won six of the 26 Dutch seats in the European Parliament, ahead of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy and the Christian Democratic Appeal, with both winning four seats.

Ahead in polls this year is the far-right Party for Freedom, which won the general elections in the Netherlands in November last year by a landslide, becoming the biggest party in the country for the first time in history and ready to form a new government with coalition parties.

First exit polls of the elections are expected right after the polling stations close at night. The European Commission prescribes that the election results must not be made public until all EU member states have held their elections by Monday, so as not to unduly influence the elections in other states.

The official final results are determined by the Electoral Council in an open session approximately one week after the elections. The turnout for the elections is traditionally low in the Netherlands, at about 40 percent of all eligible voters, about half of the regular turnout percentage in House of Representatives elections.

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Source: Xinhua

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