Towards Elections


Place a Vote in a Ballet Box

Towards Direct Elections to the European Parliament

In 1979 the citizens of the nine countries of the European Community elected for the first time in direct elections their representatives in the European Parliament. Twenty-seven years after the first meeting of the European Coal and Steel Community‘s Common Assembly, a major step was achieved on the way to democracy in the European Community and later the European Union. This study, written to mark the 30th anniversary of direct elections, describes the initiatives taken by the European Parliament, and previously by the Common Assembly of the ECSC, to establish a system of direct elections to Parliament.

CARDOC Journals - Nº 4 March 2009

Photographers at the European Parliament

European electoral reform and the Electoral Act of 1976

This paper examines the long process that led to the first direct European elections, and shows the national-level disputes surrounding that the 1976 Act. Assessing the 1979 elections, the paper examines the strategy developed by the newly elected MEPs to increase their power and establish a uniform electoral procedure and analyses the impact of the direct European elections on the EU political system itself as well as on its legitimation.

European Parliament History Series - Study

40th Anniversary of the 1976 Act on Direct Elections

The 1976 Act on Direct Elections to the European Parliament

Between 7 and 10 of June 1979 the first direct elections to the European Parliament by universal suffrage were held, signalling the end of a long attempt to institute this new degree of democracy in the European Community. Indeed, the effort spanned two decades, with the first draft Convention for direct elections having been submitted by Fernand Dehousse in 1960. Published on the 40th anniversary of the Act, this Briefing gives an overview of the 1974 draft Convention, the initial motions for a resolution, the Final motion and adoption and amendments to the Act on direct elections. 

European Parliament History Series - Briefing

European Elections: A Historical Perspective

A historical perspective on Parliament's elections

Between 23 and 26 May 2019, 427 million European Union citizens had the opportunity to vote for Members of the European Parliament. European elections are consequently one of the most important events in the EU political cycle. With a view to the 2019 European election and challenges to come for the new Parliament, many EU observers attached special historical significance to this ninth European election. This short paper was published at the time of the 9th direct elections, the ninth time that EU citizens could vote directly for the policy- and decision-makers who will represent them in EU politics.

European Parliament History - At a Glance