Shouldn’t we rethink how we elect MEPs?

A woman votes in last Sunday's European Parliament election in Argolida, in the northern Peloponnese. Greek voters have to pick a party and four candidates for MEP, whereas before 2014 the parties were responsible for ranking their nominees. [Evangelos Bougiotis/AMNA]

The reason why the custom of voting for candidates as we do in national elections instead of political parties and their fixed, and ranked, list of nominees for the European Parliament did not stem from a matter of principle, from a desire to give the people the right to choose their representatives. It was, rather, the result of the leadership of PASOK and the socialist party's so-called "group of 58" influential renegades being unable to agree on who would make up the list of nominees.

In order to overcome this impasse, the New Democracy-PASOK coalition government headed by Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos, respectively, instituted the practice of voting for individual party candidates for MEPs. What was a practice that most people regarded as addressing a specific circumstance ended up becoming the norm. Why? 

Making voters pick their MEPs is a...

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