France

European Parliament Elections

Electoral system

France elects 72 members to the European Parliament. The electoral system is based on proportional representation. In 1994 and 1999, France comprised one electoral district and the threshold was set to 5 percent at national level. The electoral system was changed prior to the 2004 election. Now France comprises 8 electoral regions. District magnitude varies between 3 and 14 and the Hare and the d'Hondt formula are both utilized.The legal threshold is still set to 5 percent but it is now applied at the level of the electoral regions. Party lists are closed and blocked, meaning that voters do not have any opportunity to express interests for any particular candidate.

Latest election

The election for the European Parliament in 2009 turned out fine for President Nicolas Sarkozy's centre-right UMP party, which took 27.88 percent of the vote (29 seats), leaving the opposition Socialist Party, PS, with 16.48 percent (14 seats). The result was welcome for the president as he has faced increasing dissatisfaction over his handling of the ongoing economic crisis. One of the big surprises of the night was the strong showing by the green Europe Ecologie party, which took third place with 16.28 percent and 14 seats. Turnout was the lowest ever in France for a European election. Only 40.63 percent of the 44 million electorate cast their vote.

Election results 2009, national summary

Sources

Stöver, Philip, and Andreas Wüst. 2005. Electoral Systems.

The Electoral Reform Society, European Democracies website.

Ministry of the Interior: Election results.