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The PES call for Council’s quick approval on the EU Electoral Reform just approved

The European Parliament has voted to reform EU electoral law, approving the proposed amendments after months of discussions. The PES welcomes MEPs’ approval on EU Electoral Reform during the plenary which is a good step forward towards better harmonized, more accessible and truly European elections. These changes would provide an opportunity to revitalize EU citizens’ interest towards Europe and the elections.

Now it is up to the Council to confirm what has been agreed on 11 November by 315 votes to 234, with 55 abstentions.

The report, voted in the EP mini-plenary, introduces a number of new rules for EU countries that the PES welcomes:

  1. The logo of European Political parties would appear on the ballot paper, giving them more visibility.
  2. The Spitzenkandidat process would become obligatory for all European Political parties, allowing citizens’ to have a say and direct impact in the election of the President the European Commission.
  3. The possibility for Member States to set up, deciding by unanimity, a joint constituency in which lists are headed by each political family's nominee for the post of President of Commission.
  4. Every European citizen would be able to vote, wherever they are in Europe, ensuring that their vote counts.
  5. The law would guarantee gender balanced list.
  6. It would recommend lowering the voting age and introducing the electronic vote.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said ahead of the vote: “In making new rules for European elections, we have a unique opportunity to make European elections more transparent, inclusive and democratic. When they go to the ballot box in their member state many voters do not know what Europe leadership they are contributing to. These reforms would give European Political parties more visibility and bring us closer to European people by making the affiliation to the national parties clear. In doing that we can engage with voters, especially young people.

I would like to thank S&D MEP Jo Leinen for his hard work over the last months. He has truly fought for a draft law which makes the EU elections closer to citizens.

We hail this vote which will speed the process for truly European elections."

Raymond Johansen, Mayor of Oslo, Chair of the PES Working Group on voting abstention, believes that lowering the voting age at 16 and exploring electronic voting, as recommended by the EP proposal, is a step in the right direction.

As politicians we need to face the problem of voting abstention as a major political challenge. Low turnout in elections have significant consequences for the democracy and its legitimacy”, he said. “We have to make the democracy accessible and real for everyone. Therefore I encourage MEPs also to raise this debate on the national level” he finishes.

“PES Women has been calling for parity to be applied to European candidate lists for years. There is no doubt that this would increase women’s representation in the European Parliament which is currently at 37%. I can only encourage this across all parties and all Member States”, highlighted Zita Gurmai, PES Women President.

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