Why we won't know the EU election results until Sunday night

Kate McCann
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A giant flag in western Germany (Source: Getty)

UK voters go to the polls to elect their EU representatives this Thursday.

But we’re just a small part of the process in which 751 members of the European parliament will be chosen to represent over 500m citizens.

How are seats allocated?

Obviously, there are more MEPs elected than there are member states (751 vs 28) so votes are allocated according to how many citizens each state has. Germany gets the most MEPs at 96, followed by France on 74 and the UK on 73. The smallest allocation of seats is six each, awarded to Estonia, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta.

Who is voting when?
Thursday 22 MayNetherlands and the UK
Friday 23 MayIreland and the Czech Republic
Saturday 24 MayCzech Republic (day 2), Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and Italy
Sunday 25 May

Italy (day 2), Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxumbourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden

When we we know who won?

Results are split by country but we won’t know a thing until 10pm on Sunday evening, when the polls close across Europe. It’ll be an anxious wait for all political parties, but none more so than Labour, Ukip, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in the UK, where the polls have put Labour neck and neck with Nigel Farage’s anti-EU Ukip and the Lib Dems are widely expected to disappear into political oblivion.

If you really can’t wait for a breakdown of voting figures though, keep your eyes peeled for the results of the local elections happening on Thursday in the UK. Those should give us some idea of the mood of the nation ahead of the general election next May. Exit polls will start to appear after the counting starts late on Thursday night.