The Parliament is directly elected by the people of Europe once every five years. This gives the 705 MEPs a unique and powerful voice.
The Parliament legislates (alongside the Council), provides oversight of the Commission and, perhaps most significantly, approves the entire EU budget. The Parliament also reserves the right to veto trade deals, as occurred in the case of Anti–Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Scotland had six MEPs.
MEPs are elected by a form of proportional representation. Voters get to choose which party they want to support and then the number of MEPs each party gets is calculated using a formula called d’Hondt.
There were six MEP seats for Scotland, so each party had a list of six candidates and more or less of their candidates become MEPs depending on what proportion of the vote they receive. It worked like this:
Round One: The party with the largest number of votes gets their first candidate elected.
Round Two: That party’s vote is divided by two (one plus the number of MEPs they already have). Another party’s top candidate is elected.
This was repeated electing other MEPs from other parties until the party which got their candidate in round one has the most votes again. Their second candidate on their list was then elected.
The process continues until all the seats are filled.