BRUSSELS (AP) — European voters turned out in record numbers to choose lawmakers to represent them at the European Parliament for the next five years.
More than 400 million voters in 28 nations had the right to vote over the past four days. Here's a look at that massive exercise in democracy, a multinational ballot by the European Union's only democratically elected institution:
WHO, WHEN AND WHAT?
Europe's voting marathon kicked off Thursday in Britain and the Netherlands. Voters in Ireland turned out Friday, and those in the Czech Republic, Latvia, Malta and Slovakia on Saturday. On Sunday, people in the remaining 21 EU nations cast their ballots.
Voters in each EU nation chose some of the 751 lawmakers in the European Parliament, which sits in Brussels and Strasbourg, France. Seats in the European Parliament are doled out proportionally based on a nation's population. Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta have the fewest seats with six each, while the EU's most populous member, Germany, has 96 seats. Estimates suggested that turnout could hit 51%, the highest in 20 years.
WHAT WERE THE ISSUES ?
There are no "European citizens" as such, so voters tend to respond to national interests. How Europe handles migration was a very significant concern for voters in Italy, Hungary, Poland and elsewhere. Economic concerns often influence voters, and Britain's future in the EU appeared to have been a factor again.
WHO'S LIKELY TO WIN ?
Early estimates Sunday suggested that the center right European People's Party will remain the biggest bloc in the European Parliament but lose perhaps more than 40 seats. Their traditional allies, the center-left Socialists and Democrats group, are also expected to lose about 40 seats. Together they are forecast to capture about 320 seats.
Gains were also made by the Greens, the far-right parties and the liberals, set to create a new group with French President Emmanuel Macron's centrist party.