Bocklet, Reinhold L.

05 April 1943 (Schongau [Germany])
Historical Notes

The force behind the process pushing for direct elections was Mr. Schelto Patijn, who had, as rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee, the special task of revising the 1960 draft convention (Dehousse Report) and of drawing up a report for a new draft convention (Patijn Report, doc. PE 37.881/Fin.). Article 7 of the Council Act of September 1976, concerning the election of the representatives of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, called upon the European Parliament to draw up a proposal for a uniform electoral procedure. Until then the electoral procedure was to be governed in each Member State by its national legislation.
For the uniform electoral procedure, the Political Affairs Committee set up a Sub-Committee. Mr. Jean Seitlinger, who was appointed rapporteur in 1979, proposed a draft Act on a uniform electoral procedure for the election of Members of the European Parliament (Seitlinger Report doc. PE 64.569), discussing some important subjects like . a) the electoral system, b) right to vote, c) eligibility, d) vacant seats, e) the date of election. It was adopted by the Assembly on 10 March 1982. All other important matters were to be considered in a further report. The Seitlinger Report had only limited success: several Members States amended their 1979 Euroelections provisions to accommodate, if only partly, some important principles advanced in the report, especially those concerning the enfranchisement of EC nationals resident in EC Members States other than those of which they are nationals.
After that the Council of Foreign Ministers set up a Working Party of national officials, which failed to achieve any results and was wound up prior to the second direct elections in 1984. The 1984 elections were therefore to be held on the basis of ten individual electoral systems.
In September 1984 Mr. Rheinhold Bocklet was appointed rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee to push forward the introduction of a uniform procedure. The result of this work was the proposal "Bocklet Report doc. PE 111.992" to the Political Affairs Committee in February 1985. It received only a small majority (16 for, 8 against and 13 abstentions), partly because it called for a system of strict proportional representation. It was therefore not proposed to the Assembly, but another Working Party was set up to try to combine the pure proportional representation system with elements of the majority vote system, and to look for a solution that could obtain a broad majority.
Attempts have been made to introduce a uniform system, but so far without success. The Maastricht Treaty too (see Article G, replacing Art. 137 and Art. 138) contains provisions about a uniform electoral procedure.
The De Gucht Report, which was adopted in plenary by the European Parliament on 10 June 1992, represents the latest step in that direction. This proposal was adopted without modification by the European Council in Edinburgh.

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