Summary: Polish politicians are increasingly often referring to the prospect of next yearu0092s elections to the European Parliament. Voters, however, are still unaware of the fact that these elections are to take place. Only 27% of Poles know that they will be choosing their representatives to the European Parliament in general elections. The European Parliament plays only a minor role in the present institutional makeup of the European Union. Elections to the European Parliament do not entail any obvious political consequences. As a result, the significance of these elections to Western European politicians and voters is only secondary to national parliamentary elections. As a rule, they only play the role of a u0093barometeru0094 of the national political landscape, providing information on voter preferences that may later be used in national elections. Therefore, low voter turnout can be primarily attributed to the absence of political consequences of European elections, rather than to the rejection of the European integration ideal. Studies conducted with reference to current EU member states suggest that the following factors promote higher voter turnout in elections to the European Parliament: compulsory voting, concurrent national parliamentary elections, perceived weakness of domestic institutions and overall support for the countryu0092s membership of the EU. In Poland, owing to a very low assessment of domestic institutions and hopes placed in democratic institutions of the EU, as well as the fact that elections to the European Parliament will be an interesting novelty to Polish voters, one may expect a relatively high turnout. If European and national parliamentary elections are held at the same time, then even the opposite of the situation in Western Europe may occur: elections to the European Parliament might u0093prop upu0094 voter turnout at national parliamentary elections.
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