10th European Parliament election
In spring 2024, the citizens of the European Union elect the European Parliament for the tenth time.
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.
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 determines 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 are 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 2024 reveals that the election period lasting from Thursday to Sunday would have to be from 6 to 9 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). Such a decision should be taken at least one year before the electoral term ends. So far there have been only four such decisions, one concerning the second (1984) and one the third European elections (1989), postponing the electoral period by one week each time, and one concerning the eighth (2014) and one of the ninth (2019) European election, bringing forward the electoral period by two weeks.
Elections to the assemblies of party delegates and of candidates
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 concerning the European election 2024 intra-party elections to the assemblies of party delegates may have been carried out from 1 January 2023 and elections of candidates may be held from 1 April 2023.
The lists for a Land and joint lists for all Länder have to be submitted in written form to the Federal Returning Officer on the 83rd day before the election by 6 p.m. at the latest (Section 11 (1) of the European Elections Act).