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National election – does it have an impact on the European politics?

elections-536656_1280When discussing impact on politics of the European Union, the first that comes to mind is usually the election to the European parliament. Though, the national election is also an important part of the European politics.

The election to the Cypriot national parliament the 22nd of May this year will determine the composition of the parliament, and thereby the legislative body in Cyprus. However, the parliament also has obligations in the European legislative process – most notably the principle of subsidiarity.

The Treaty on the European Union significantly increases the role of national Parliaments at EU level. Under Art 12 TEU, “national Parliaments contribute actively to the good functioning of the Union”. The cornerstones of the relations between the Commission and national Parliaments are the “subsidiarity checks” and the “political dialogue”. However, other interactions are also possible.

The principle of subsidiarity is the process to determine whether the issue of legislation needs to be handled on European level, or if the issue should be handled on national level. To enable parliaments to carry out subsidiarity checks, the Commission sends draft legislation to national parliaments at the same time as it forwards it to the Union legislator (i.e. the European Parliament and the Council). Depending on the number of national parliaments that disagree on that the legislation should be on European level the proposal might be withdrawn.

If you want to read more about the principle of subsidiarity and which proposals that has been opposed, click here

The voter turnout in the national elections for parliament have decreased since the election 1981 (95.75 %) to 78.70 % 2011. Still, it is higher than the voter turn out to the European parliament election which also has decreased since the first election in 2004 (72.50 %) to 43.97 % in 2014. Find the full list of voter turn out here.

Open, free and secret elections (i.e. that every adult can cast a vote for whomever he or she thinks is most suited for the position, and that the voter does not need to tell whom he or she voted for) are a fundamental part of any democratic society, along with freedom of speech and the rule of law.

Democracy is not consistent, but needs to be reclaimed by every generation, every day, and it should not be taken for granted. One of the most important missions we have as citizens in a democracy is to cast our votes for the politicians that we think are most suited. 

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