|A resident walks out of a polling station in London, Britain, May 22, 2014. European parliamentary elections kicked off on Thursday. (Xinhua/Yin Gang)
LONDON, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Elections to the European Parliament kicked off Thursday in Britain as millions of Britons flocked to polling stations to decide who can represent them in the European legislature.
A total of 73 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are up for grabs in Britain based on the proportional representation voting mechanism.
The elections, conducted in 12 electoral regions across Britain, employ the single transferable vote system in Northern Ireland and the regional party list proportional representation system in the rest of the country, asking citizens to vote for a party rather than an individual.
Britain's component of the European Parliament elections coincided with the 2014 local elections in England and Northern Ireland. Britain and the Netherlands are the first two countries to start the European Parliament elections this year.
The European Parliament is the only directly elected institution in the European Union.
The 751 MEPs to be elected across Europe in the coming 3 days will take up their seats from July, shaping European legislation and influencing European policies in the next 5 years.
Results of the elections are scheduled to be announced on Sunday, when voting is closed across the 28 member states of the European Union.