Citizens across the EU will head to the polls between May 23 and May 26 (May 23 for the UK) to elect new Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The British Government had hoped never to see these elections happen. But amid ongoing Brexit turmoil, this vote has become a focal point for the political dissatisfaction of the public.
For British citizens, the reasons to vote go beyond just what MEPs do – making and passing laws including the EU single market, farming, fisheries, energy, environment, data protection, migration and dozens of other policy areas.
But this time, there’s the feeling of this election acting as a microcosm for the ongoing political turmoil over Brexit.
And with many across the political spectrum now calling for a public vote – whether it be a general election or second referendum – this is the closest the public will get for the time being.
Theresa May’s Conservative Party is expected to receive a serious kicking when Brits go to the polls next week, punished for overseeing the disastrous three years since the UK voted to leave the EU.
Labour’s endless fence-sitting over Brexit is expected to hurt them too.
Leading in the polls is Nigel Farage’s increasingly popular Brexit Party, exemplifying how much this race has become about Brexit.
This brand new successor to Ukip has formally existed for only a few weeks, but is topping polls at about 30 percent.
While leave support seems to be almost entirely in Farage’s camp, remain support seems split over various parties, including the Greens Lib Dems and Change UK, which could be detrimental in comparison to the hordes coalescing around the Brexit Party.
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If the showing for the Brexit Party ends up being as strong as polls suggest, it will only exacerbate the Prime Minister’s predicament and urgency of her departure.
The result will also solidify the determination of the ruling party to get Brexit done and dusted.
This could be a swift break or, as is more likely given warring factions within the Tories, a softer Brexit as a way out is compromised.
So, while these representatives might only hold their seats and affect law for a few months, the importance of casting your vote cannot be underestimated.