The elections for EuroParliament delegates are now going on in the 25 member states, according to when each state prefers to have its citizens go to the polls during the required Thursday-to-Sunday time-frame. (But you already know that, as I recently covered the rise of the UKIP in Britain in this context.) Whoever wins one of the EP’s 786 seats gets – among other rights and obligations – a very decent, tax-free salary-plus-allowances for the next five years. Especially for MEPs from the new member-states of Central Europe, the pay and perks of representing your country in Strasbourg easily rival anything you might be able to earn at home, in either the private or public sector (often including even as president or prime minister). What’s more, the election rules are such that it is common that such legislators are elected off of party lists, rather than on the basis of geographical constituencies. How many of those on the list are elected – i.e. how far down the list the candidates are chosen for office – depends on how much voter support the party itself gets in the given election.
So why not put list-positions up for sale? (more…)