In 2019, we are electing the European Parliament

Published 27.12.2018 02:03
Updated 27.12.2018 08:00

Since this is my last article this year, I would like to celebrate all my readers' New Year. I also would like to say, "I wish a good year for everyone." However, I am realist enough to say, "I am content with not having 2019 be worse than 2018." It is obvious even now that 2019 is not going to be an easy year.

For today, I only wish to tackle a certain subject. On May 23 and May 26, 2019, across the entire EU, the European Parliament elections will take place.

The European Parliament is elected every five years, and the EU Commission will also be renewed for five years. The EU Commission will also be affected by this election's results. In short, across the EU, 2019 will be a year of change that will determine the following five years. European Parliament elections are generally the elections with the lowest level of participation.

The main perpetrator of this situation is actually the European Parliament and the governments of the EU member states that are deliberately showing it to be "unimportant."

For a long time, the European Parliament has been held in a position that is behind local politics by the national media outlets of EU states. And European Parliament members did their best to not be taken seriously by EU public opinion. Because of this, the image of the European Parliament is not very bright in the eyes of EU public opinion. Thus, voters do not tend to pay much attention to European Parliament elections. This is a bad development for the sake of democracy because unlike what most people believe, the European Parliament is not an "insignificant" parliament.

It has authority over subjects that affect the daily lives of EU citizens the most. However, this "important" position of the parliament cannot be realized properly due to the fact that it is both shown to be unimportant by EU member states' governments, and the EU public is not told what the purpose of European Parliament members is. This situation is in favor of the far right and "EU opposition" groups and parties. The low participation in European Parliament elections lowers the vote percentage of center parties and increases far-right parties' ratios.

Thus, many far-right and racist members of parliament are able to be elected. Those in opposition to the "EU and its values" get the opportunity to utilize parliament's own facilities against the EU as European Parliament members.

In 2014, the participation rate in European Parliament elections was only 42.61 percent. It is expected, rather worryingly, to have an even lower rate of participation in the elections in 2019. This causes far-right and racist parties to have many members of parliament, similar to "Stalinist and marginal communist" left parties that resemble them. This means that radical minority groups that are against the EU resent EU citizens, by having many members of parliament. This, in turn, causes confidence in the European Parliament to be decreased further and the image of European Parliament to be further sullied.

When we look at the Germany example, we see that participation in the elections was 48.1 percent. Since it is possible for a party to have a member of parliament elected with only 0.51 percent votes, even the National Democratic Party (NDP) with a vote ratio of 1 percent and 301,139 votes can have a member of parliament elected under normal circumstances in 2014 in Germany, which has 61.4 million German voters and 2.9 million voters from other EU member states. If participation in elections increases and the NDP increases its vote ratio, it will have two members of parliament in 2019. In 2014, seven of the 96 members of parliament of Germany were elected with vote ratios between 0.60 percent (184,709 votes) and 1.40 percent (425,044 votes) from seven different parties and lists. If participation becomes lower and even smaller parties and groups receive more votes in 2019, the results are bound to be surprising.

To change this situation, which is not very bright for democracy, it will be beneficial if the 25 million Muslims living in the EU pay more attention to the European Parliament elections. By going to the ballot boxes, and for example electing their own candidates and lists, Muslim EU citizens can at least partially stop far-right and racist parties from doing as they please. For example, in an election where all Muslim EU citizens come together in a single list, with the vote ratio and the number of votes they may receive, it could be possible for them to get ahead of a party like the NDP or even cause the NDP to get no members in parliament.

Even further, if they achieve greater success, they might even cause a far-right party that aims to get 14-15 members of parliament to get one less. To say it out loud: European democracy immediately needs democratic Muslims. For the European Parliament, having Muslim members of parliament that advocate democratic values will be a massive benefit. Regarding this subject, we are hopeful for 2019.

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