BERLIN, May 25 (Xinhua) -- The election to the European Parliament (EP) kicked off Sunday in Germany as polling stations opened at 8:00 a.m. for voters to decide who can represent them in the European legislature.
The new, eighth European Parliament will be constituted on July 1 after elections were held from Thursday to Sunday. A total of 751 members elected will represent more than 500 million citizens in the 28-member bloc.
In Sunday's election in Germany, 1,053 candidates representing 25 parties and political associations will stand for the 96 EP seats allocated to Germany as the largest EU member state.
The election is based on the principle of proportional representation, meaning that the number of seats to be distributed in Germany will depend only on the shares of votes cast for the lists of parties and political associations.
Polling stations are due to close at 6:00 p.m.. An official provisional result for Germany is expected to be announced only after the poll is over in the EU member state whose voters are the last to cast their votes, meaning not before 11 p.m. of the day.
According to the latest polls in Germany, the Union parties of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU, which are part of the center-right European People's Party in the European Parliament, remained Germany's strongest polling group.
The Union was followed by the Social Democratic Party that belongs to the center-left Party of European Socialists in the Parliament.
Germany's smallest political parties were believed to be given a huge boost ahead of the election, with the country's top court ruling in February they will no longer need a minimum of 3 percent of the vote to win seats in the European Parliament. It could therefore see more small groups representing Germany in the European legislature.
In Hungary, polls opened at 6:00 a.m. local time on Sunday and will end at 7:00 p.m..
Voters can choose any one of the eight political parties or party alliances. Hungary's 21 seats in the EP will be distributed proportionately among those parties that manage to receive at least 5 percent of the vote.
Those with high possibilities to win seats are the governing Fidesz-KDNP, the Socialist Party, and the far-right Jobbik party. Less certain are two other left-wing parties -- the Democratic Coalition and Together-Dialogue for Hungary.
In Romania, more than 18 million Romanian voters are expected Sunday to elect their 32 representatives for the European Parliament.
Elections started at 7:00 a.m.. As many as 18,532 polling stations are set up nationwide for the elections and Romanian nationals abroad can cast their ballots at 190 stations.
According to the Central Electoral Bureau, a total of 572 candidates from 13 political parties and two alliances, as well as eight independent candidates are competing in the race for the EP seats.
The electoral alliance of the ruling coalition, consisted of the Social Democratic Party, the National Union for the Progress of Romania and the Conservative Party, would get 43 percent in Sunday's elections, according to the latest national poll conducted by the Info-Politics Center of Studies and Research.
Coming next are the National Liberal Party, the Democratic Liberal Party, the People's Movement Party and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, the survey said.
The Sunday elections have a dual significance for Romania, as it is widely considered to be a rehearsal of the presidential election at the end of this year.
Major political parties in Romania will identify and adjust their strategies for the presidential elections, according to their results in the European elections.
In Lithuania, voting for the European Parliament is taking place together with the presidential runoff on Sunday. Lithuania will elect 11 EP representatives.