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Parliament calls on Council to empower voters with second ballot paper in European elections


04 May 2022



The European Parliament today called for voters to be given a second ballot paper in European elections to give the electorate the opportunity to vote for an EU-wide list of candidates. As pan-European lists will be headed by the candidates seeking the Commission President nomination, today’s vote confirms Parliament’s commitment to the so-called Spitzenkandidaten principle in European elections.

S&D MEP Domènec Ruiz Devesa led the negotiations on the reforms that will also guarantee gender balance for the European list by alternating women and men through a “zipped list system” and that will make elections more accessible by strengthening the rights of voters with disabilities.

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament call on EU governments to act on Parliament’s demands, that also reflect citizens proposals in the Conference on the Future of Europe, and agree to reforms that will strengthen democracy in the EU.

Domènec Ruiz Devesa, rapporteur on European Electoral Reform and S&D spokesperson for constitutional affairs, said:

“In a historic vote, the European Parliament has chosen to strengthen democracy and make our elections more European in nature. Through these electoral reforms, we will be able to strengthen European political parties and increase their visibility in the public eye and at the same time empower voters with a second ballot paper to select candidates for an EU-wide list. We want to shift the debate around European elections away from domestic politics and put the European agenda at the heart of the European election campaign. With a second ballot displaying the logos of European political entities and with European lists headed by the candidates seeking the nomination of the Commission president, we strengthen the legitimacy of our elections and at the same time improve democratic accountability in the EU. With this vote, it is time for governments in the Council to take on board our demands for change to EU electoral law and act quickly to make sure reform is in place before the next elections. ” 

Note to editors

The European Parliament has a special right of initiative enshrined in Art. 223 TFEU. After the Parliament’s proposal, the Council adopts its own changes by unanimity before the final European Parliament consent. The ratification of all Member States is also required for the Act to enter into force.