Polls opened in the Netherlands and the UK on Thursday May 23rd for European Parliament elections, launching four days of voting across the EU in which populists hope to make big gains for their national governments, AP has reported.
The UK and the Netherlands are the first and only two countries to vote on Thursday in the polls, with more than 400 million voters across the 28-nation bloc eligible to elect 751 MEPs.
Polls opened across the United Kingdom at 0600 GMT, only half an hour after voting started in the Netherlands, and will close at 2100 GMT, with the British results to be announced late on Sunday in a nation that is still wrestling with its plans to leave the European Union altogether under the leadership of embattled Prime Minister Theresa May.
The elections, which end on Sunday night, come as support is surging for populists and nationalists who want to rein in the EU's powers, while European governments fear a good showing for eurosceptics will disrupt decision-making in Brussels and pose a threat to EU integration and mainstream reform efforts.
These are the ninth European parliament elections since they began in 1979 and voter turnout has dropped each time, hitting 43% in 2014.