8th European Parliament election
on 25 May 2014
From 22 to 25 May 2014, the citizens of the European Union elected the European Parliament for the eighth time. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the election took place on Sunday, 25 May 2014.
This election is not based on uniform European election legislation but on national electoral acts. The European Elections Act and the European Electoral Regulations govern the election procedure in the Federal Republic of Germany.
On 19 September 2013, the Federal Government’s decision to hold European elections on 25 May 2014 was announced in the Federal Law Gazette (Federal Law Gazette I p. 3618).
The period during which a European election must be held is determined by the electoral term and, more specifically, by the period prescribed by law.
Elections to the European Parliament are held every five years. In accordance with Section 7 of the European Elections Act, the Federal Government shall determine the exact date for the election from a period fixed by the Council of the European Union in keeping with Articles 10 and 11 of the Act concerning the Election of the Representatives of the European Parliament by Direct Universal Suffrage (Federal Law Gazette II of 1977 p. 733) – or Direct Elections Act, as it is called.
As a rule, the period is the same in all members states, from a Thursday to the following Sunday, to guarantee that the various election traditions of the member states can be maintained. In most member states, elections are held on a Sunday or a public holiday like in Germany, while in Great Britain and the Netherlands, for example, polling stations are open on Thursdays.
In accordance with Article 11 (2), first sentence, of the Direct Elections Act, European elections shall be held in the last year of the five-year electoral term, during a period corresponding to that of the first European elections. The first European elections were held from 7 to 10 June 1979. A glance at the calendar of June 2014 reveals that the election period lasting from Thursday to Sunday would have to be from 5 to 8 June to ensure that at least one of the election dates in the member states would be within the above period.
However, if it proves impossible to hold the elections in the Community during that period, it may be brought forward or postponed through a unanimous Council decision taken after consulting the European Parliament (Article 11 (2), second sentence, of the Direct Elections Act). So far there have been only two such decisions, one concerning the second (1984) and one the third European elections (1989), postponing the electoral period by one week each time.
In its resolution of 22 November 2012 (2012/2829 (RSP)), the European Parliament asked the Council to move the forthcoming European elections to either 15 to 18 May or 22 to 25 May 2014. Council Decision 2013/299/EU, Euratom of 14 June 2013 fixed the period for the elections from 22 to 25 May 2014.
Irrespective of the final date of the poll, elections to the assemblies of party delegates may be held not earlier than 12 months and elections of candidates not earlier than nine months before the beginning of the year for which the elections to the European Parliament have been scheduled (Section 10 (3), fourth sentence, of the European Elections Act). This means that intra-party elections to the assemblies of party delegates had not started before 1 January 2013 and elections of candidates for the next European election not before 1 April 2013.
The lists for a Land and joint lists for all Länder had to be submitted in written form to the Federal Returning Officer on the 83rd day before the election (= 3 March 2014) by 6 p.m. at the latest (Section 11 (1) of the European Elections Act).