Voters go to polls in EU elections

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Voters in Aylesbury Vale will today help choose 10 MEPS to repesent the South East in the European Parliament.

The Conservative party won the last European parliamentary election in 2009, but opinion polls suggest that UKIP is expected to create a political storm and return a sizeable majority.

Britain is one of eight countries - including Germany and France - to use a closed list system.

This means voters vote for a party, rather than an individual.

The parties themselves decide who goes on the candidate list for each of the 12 electoral regions across the United Kingdom.

Some parties have as many as 10 names on their list.

Each region is allowed a different number of MEPs dependent on the size of the population.

In the heavily populated south east of England we return 10 MEPs.

The names at the top of a party list stand the best chance of being elected.

So UKIP party leader Nigel Farage, who is number one on UKIP’s list for the south east of England, looks set for a safe return to the seat he has held since 1999.

There are 15 parties , with a total of 118 candidates, vying for the south east of England.

The parties, with their number of candidates in brackets, are:

An Independence from Europe (10); British National Party (10); Christian Peoples Alliance (9); Conservative (10); English Democrats (10); Green Party (10); The Harmony Party (2); Labour Party (10); Liberal Democrats (10); Liberty GB (3); The Peace Party (10); The Roman Party (1); Socialist Party of Great Britain (10); UKIP (10); and YOURvoice (3).

One hundred and seventeen polling stations across the Vale opened at 7am and will remain open until 10pm.

Unlike a General Election, the results for the European elections take longer to collate and will not therefore be available by the following morning.

Following the close of poll on Thursday the last of the postal votes for the Aylesbury Vale local authority area will be opened and verified.

The verification of all ballot boxes will take place on Friday, and the verification total for the European ballot papers given to the regional returning officer.

The count for the Aylesbury Vale local authority area will be held on Sunday May 25 at The Gateway in Gatehouse Road.

Starting at 5.30pm, the result will be published as soon as available after 10pm.