EU citizens will elect a new European Parliament between May 23 and 26. Voters in each of the bloc's 28 member states vote for their national parties, whose MEPs then form pan-European groups along rough ideological lines to work together in the parliament.
With voting underway, polls suggest the centre-rightand centre-left are likely to remain the largest groups in parliament, but are likely to lose their combined majority for the first time.
Eurosceptic and anti-immigration parties, currently divided between three groups, look set to make the greatest gains. Some of these parties intend to form a new group, the European Alliance of Peoples and Nations, after the election.
The UK will participate in the election and will elect 73 of the parliament's 751 seats as in the 2014-2019 parliamentary term. When the UK leaves the bloc, the number of seats in parliament will shrink from 751 to 705, with 27 of the UK's 73 seats being reallocated to other countries.
The FT’s projection is updated continuously based on polls from across Europe. Polling data is drawn from Europe Elects and other sources. In the past week, there have been 34 new polls in Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The availability of polling for European Parliament voting intentions varies throughout Europe. In countries where such data are not available, polls of voting intentions for general elections, while less accurate an indicator, can be used to help predict the outcome in European elections. As the data become available in each country, European Parliament voting intentions will be used as part of the FT's projection.
Projected seats by country
At each point in time, the FT poll-of-polls takes the average of all polls published for a country within the last two weeks. The average of their results is weighted to give more recent polls greater influence on the net score. Where available, polling that asks for voting intention in the European Parliament is used, otherwise polling for national parliaments is used as a proxy (Denmark, Belgium, Lithuania and Luxembourg).
Because of the very different set of parties and voting intention in the French- and Dutch-speaking constituencies of Belgium, we treat these as separate countries. Little polling exists for the German-speaking region, so we assign its one MEP to the Christian Social Party (EPP), which has won the seat in every election since 1994.
Similarly, we treat the UK as four countries — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland we use general election polling as voting intention for the European elections is not yet available. The allocations for England are the result of running the D'Hondt method with the current polling average in each of the nine European Parliament constituencies.
We treat all other countries with multiple constituencies as a single entity because there is little constituency-level polling.
Projected seats are then calculated at a national party level in each country using the seat allocation method closest to the one used by that country in an actual election. If national parties enter into electoral coalitions, we allocate their seats to the European groups based on published party lists. The affiliation of each national party is then used to calculate the total projected number of seats for each European political group.
Corrections: Due to a calculation error, projections for countries using the Droop quota method (Slovakia and Cyprus) were temporarily incorrect between 9 and 15 May.
Due to a polling input error on the 30 April, the polling average and projection for the Attack party in Bulgaria was temporarily incorrect.
Reporting by Niki Blasina in London, Ben Hall in London, Jim Brunsden in Brussels, Kerin Hope in Athens, Valerie Hopkins in Budapest, James Shotter in Warsaw, Richard Milne in Oslo, Victor Mallet in Paris, Guy Chazan in Berlin, Arthur Beesley in Dublin, Miles Johnson in Rome, Mehreen Khan in Brussels, Peter Wise in Lisbon and Ian Mount in Madrid.