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The coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on electoral processes around the world, with many elections being postponed because of emergency situations. Ideally, postponing elections should involve a sensible balancing act between the democratic imperative, enshrined in international law and national constitutions, to hold regular elections, and public health requirements restricting large gatherings and minimising close contact between people. While some countries have decided to go ahead with elections ...

Plenary round-up – Brussels, May 2020

V stručnosti 18-05-2020

The May 2020 plenary session was the third conducted with a majority of Members participating remotely, although more were present in Brussels than at the April session, and using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau. The session focused on a number of urgent legislative proposals as well as votes on discharge for EU institutions and bodies concerning the 2018 budget. On the response to the Covid 19 pandemic, Parliament called upon the European Commission ...

For the second time since the introduction of strict coronavirus containment measures, the European Parliament conducted its April plenary session with the majority of Members participating remotely, and used the alternative voting procedure put in place by Parliament's Bureau for the March II session. This temporary voting procedure is available for use until 31 July 2020, unless extended by Bureau decision. As in March, the session focused on a number of urgent legislative proposals as well as ...

The need to observe strict sanitary measures, in view of the COVID-19 contagion, requires a flexible response from everyone. Consequently, the European Parliament organised and conducted its March II plenary session with new precautionary measures, allowing it to act rapidly to carry out its essential legislative function during the crisis. Parliament's Bureau put in place an alternative voting procedure for the 26 March extraordinary plenary session. The new procedure meant that all Members – with ...

In the words of Parliament’s President, David Sassoli, the 'European Parliament must remain open, because a virus cannot bring down democracy'. Ways have therefore had to be found to enable Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to exercise their public duties should it become impossible for them to attend committees or plenary sessions in person. The need to keep parliaments functioning in emergency situations has been on Member States' agendas too. The European Parliament’s Bureau has taken ...

The allocation of seats in collegiate organs such as parliaments requires a method to translate votes proportionally into whole seats. The 'd'Hondt method' is a mathematical formula used widely in proportional representation systems, although it leads to less proportional results than other systems for seat allocation such as the Hare-Niemeyer and Sainte-Laguë/Schepers methods. Moreover, it tends to increase the advantage for the electoral lists which gain most votes to the detriment of those with ...

Congress is the legislative branch of the US system of government and is divided into two chambers: the House of Representatives (lower chamber) and the Senate (upper chamber). The formal powers of Congress are set out in Article 1 of the US Constitution, and include making laws, collecting revenue, borrowing and spending money, declaring war, making treaties with foreign nations, and overseeing the executive branch. Elections to the US Congress occur in November every second year, with the Congress ...

The elections to Mongolia's unicameral State Great Khural scheduled for 29 June 2016 will be held amidst a serious deterioration of the country's macroeconomic indicators caused by domestic and external factors. There is widespread voter scepticism as regards the ability of the national political elites to curb rising unemployment and poverty which affects a third of the population, as well as to eradicate pervasive corruption. The new election arrangements suggest a two-horse race between the ruling ...

Two papers included in this compendium reflect on the electoral reform of the European Parliament. First, written by Andrew Duff, EP's rapporteur on the electoral reform (2004-2014), discusses the ways on how the EP should reform itself in order to contribute to a strengthening of the democratic legitimacy of the European Union. Second paper by Friedrich Pukelsheim and Kai-Friederike Oelbermann suggests using a double-proportional method for the translation of the votes in the European elections ...

This briefing provides key facts and figures about the European Parliament, both today and in previous terms since direct elections were introduced in 1979. It includes graphics of various kinds which: detail the composition of the European Parliament now and in the past; trace the increase in the number of parties represented in the Parliament and show the evolution of political groups; chart the rise in the number of women sitting in the Parliament; explain the electoral systems used in elections ...