THE upcoming European Parliament elections will be held from May 23-26, and the main UK parties are gearing up for voters to go to the polls.
But who are the candidates and which parties have launched their campaign? Here’s what we know.
Reuters Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is ahead in the polls for the European Parliament elections
Who are the UK candidates?
Seats in England, Scotland and Wales are given to parties based on their share of the vote for candidates on lists created by the parties.
In Northern Ireland, the country elects MEPs using a single transferable vote system where voters are able to rank candidates by preference.
The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, the Brexit Party and Ukip have all selected 70 candidates across the 12 regions.
The Conservative Party has 71 candidates standing.
Change UK originally selected 70, but two have stepped down over controversy surrounding their social media posts.
The Green Party has 64 candidates standing in England and Wales and has six candidates for the Scottish Greens.
Leaders of the SDLP, the Alliance Party, TUV as well as Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson, DUP’s Diane Dodds and Ulster Unionist minister Danny Kennedy are standing in the election for the parties in Northern Ireland.
In Wales, Plaid Cymru has four candidates running in the election.
The SNP have six candidates in Scotland.
What are the polls predicting?
The Brexit Party is currently surging ahead, according to the latest poll data from Pollsters, carried out on May 12, 2019.
Farage’s party was found to come out on top after analysing the results from the past four polls on voting intention.
The Brexit Party secured 30 per cent of the vote compared to Labour on 21 per cent and the Conservatives on just 12 per cent.
The parties backing a second referendum on EU membership – the Lib Dems, Greens and Change UK – collectively had a share of 28 per cent.
This compared with the 34 per cent for Ukip and Brexit who are strongly for leaving the EU.
Countries in the EU will vote on May 23, 2019, with the results expected on May 26.
Reuters Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, is currently second in the EU election polls
Which parties have launched their campaigns?
They will be standing in the European Parliament elections for the first time after rebranding from The Independent Group, which launched in February 2019.
Some of their notable candidates are ex-BBC broadcaster and novelist Gavin Esler, and journalist Rachel Johnson, who is the sister of Tory MP Boris Johnson.
Their full list of MEP candidates are here.
Among the list of Tories standing in the upcoming election are existing MEPs including Ashley Fox, Daniel Hannan and Sajjad Karim.
Some Tories have said they are not campaigning for the party in protest of the Theresa May failing to get Brexit over the line by the original deadline of March 29.
The Green Party
This party made its electoral breakthrough into the European Parliament in 1999.
Their full list of candidates can be found here and the list of the Scottish Greens can be found here.
The Liberal Democrats
This party only secured one seat in the 2014 elections and are hoping to send more candidates to Brussels this year.
The full list of candidates can be found here.
The issue on a second referendum has divided the left-wing party, which is likely to be a major issue with voters heading to the polls
A full list of the party’s candidates can be found here.
Northern Ireland Parties
The DUP and Sinn Fein claimed more than 45 per cent of the vote in 2014.
They are expected to retain their seats this year.
The party is asking voters to reject the “damaging, dangerous” Brexit and to give Wales more of say on future decisions.
A full list of the party’s candidates are here.
Party members ranked their six prospective candidates in order of preference.
Alyn Smith, who has been an MEP since 2004, came out on top.
The party hopes to win three seats.
The Brexit Party
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This party was successful in the 2014 elections, but have been in decline ever since.
Carl Benjamin is one of the more controversial candidates following his 2016 remarks about how he would “not even rape” the Labour MP Jess Phillips.
A full list of MEP candidates for the party can be found here.