MEPs set to ‘gerrymander’ European election rules

Jul 03, 2018


Tomorrow MEPs will attempt to push through controversial reforms to European Electoral law that will see large political parties in only two EU Member States gain a significant number of seats from their political rivals, warned ECR constitutional affairs Spokesman, Morten Messerschmidt, ahead of the vote.

The changes would mandate countries who operate a nationwide list system to introduce a minimum vote threshold of 2-5% for electing MEPs, but would only apply to countries that have 35 seats or more. The new rules would in practice only affect Germany and Spain, and it would seem are directly intended to give more seats to established parties and cause many parties to lose their representation in the European Parliament. The German Constitutional Court in 2011 and 2014 twice ruled against the introduction of a threshold for European Elections and now these changes would circumvent those rulings.

In order to vote the changes through, MEPs will also have to ignore the advice of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission which recommends that election law is not changed within one year of an election. The next European elections are due to take place in May 2019, just over ten months’ time.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Mr. Messerschmidt said:
“This is clear ‘gerrymandering’ at the European level and I’m urging MEPs to reject the proposals. If establishment parties are worried about losing seats they should come up with policies that voters actually want, rather than manipulating European election rules at the expense of their political rivals.

“Some MEPs are quick to reference the importance of the Venice Commission’s recommendations when it comes to involving themselves in Member State affairs but are quick to ignore it when it applies to their attempts to manipulate European Election rules. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.”