There is only one European election, however it is held on different days and according to different versions of proportional representative voting for each country. Proportional representation (“PR”) voting with open lists allows for more influence on which candidate gets elected, giving voters the choice between personalities as well as between the political parties. This open list system is used in a large number of EU member states: Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Malta. However, for example in France, Germany and the UK the countries have opted for a closed-list, where voters are only given the choice between the parties, but not the individual candidates. “Closed-list PR” moves the competition between candidates from the same party back from an open election campaign, engaging with the voters, to an earlier stage in the election process: the party selection process.
Accordingly, the power of who gets voted into Parliament is moved from the electorate to the political parties. In a closed-list system there is little incentive for individual candidates to communicate directly with their voters. Most politicians still have a certain measure of rationality left, in spite of running for office, and so to get elected, they concentrate on campaigning inside the political parties in order to get as high up on the list as possible.
As a Danish candidate, I am standing against nearly 100 other candidates from 7 different lists, mainly parties, but there is still one cross-party list Folkebevægelsen mod EU, with an anti-European agenda.