Saturday, June 15, 2024

Which countries saw poorest voter turnout for European elections?

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While Belgians, Luxembourgers and Maltese emphatically turned out to vote in the 2024 European elections, a number of Member States saw less than or around a third of eligible voters cast their ballots.

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Tens of millions of people across the European Union had the opportunity to go to the polls between June 6-9 to exercise their democratic right and decide which 720 MEPs would make up the European Parliament’s 2024-2029 legislative term.

While some countries, such as Belgium, Luxembourg, and Malta, recorded high voter turnout, others did not.

According to European Parliament provisional results published this afternoon, the following Member States recorded the most eligible voters skip election day.

Croatia – 21%

Croatia saw exceptionally low voter turnout levels, setting a new record lower than Slovakia’s in 2019. Only one in five eligible Croatian voters cast their ballots, choosing 21 MEPs over the weekend. The coastal European country recorded 21% voter turnout – well under half the European Union national average of almost 51% – and saw nearly 10% less voters turning up on election day than in 2019.

Apart from the major parties, the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party gained two additional seats in the election, securing a majority with 34.6% of support. Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP) coalition gained 25% voter support and four seats.

Lithuania – 28%

Only 28% of eligible Lithuanians, just over one in four, went to the polls on Sunday. This is lower than in 2014 and 2019 when respective voter turnouts were 47% and 54%.

There were 11 European Parliament seats up for grabs in the Eastern European country, with the Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) received the lions share of support (21%) and snatching three seats while the centre-left Social Democratic Party (LSDP) trailed behind with 18% of votes and only securing two MEP spots.

Bulgaria – 31%

Bulgaria’s voter turnout figures have taken a successive nosedive over the last four European parliamentary elections, sliding from a strong 38% in 2009 – almost on par with the then 43% European average – to a meagre 31% in 2024. There were 17 MEP seats up for grabs at this election, but turnout was apathetic.

Despite being one of the five European Union countries where voting is mandatory by law, Bulgaria still experiences a decline in turnout.

Constituents also cast their ballots in a sixth National Assembly election in three years over the weekend. The conservative populist Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) secured five seats, while the remainder were distributed among a variety of parties and independent candidates.

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