First polling stations open in EU elections
PR dla Zagranicy
Voting got under way at polling stations in the Netherlands, England and Northern Ireland on Thursday morning in the first wave of 2014's EU elections.
A voter casts her ballot in polling station set up in a shop of the train station of Castricum, The Netherlands, on 22 May 2014 morning. Photo: EPA/Bas Czerwinski
751 MEPs will be chosen across the EU's 28 member states from Thursday to Sunday 25 May. The last elections were held five years ago in 2009.
Populist euro-sceptic parties are expected to gain ground in the elections, with today's votes setting the tone.
In spite of the fact that UKIP (The United Kingdom Independence Party) has no seats in the House of Commons, the lower house of parliament in London, the party is currently leading in opinion polls for today's votes.
Likewise, in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders' Party of Freedom (PVV) is tipped to win almost a quarter of the country's 26 seats.
Both parties UKIP and PVV have records of stoking anxieties about Polish and other Central and Eastern European immigrants.
Push for votes in Poland
Meanwhile, Polish political leaders are pushing to convince floating voters, with Poles set to vote this Sunday.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk of centre-right Civic Platform party will be drumming up support in the Lubuskie province of western Poland on Thursday.
Chief rival, Jaroslaw Kaczynski of the conservative Law and Justice party is set to visit Silesia, southern Poland.
A poll earlier this week indicated that Tusk's party has a 5 percent lead over Law and Justice, with the former tipped to win 26 percent of the vote.
Euro-sceptic outsider the New Right appears to have captured the hearts of 4 percent of the voters. (nh)