THE line-up of candidates from the West Midlands region for this summer's European elections has been officially announced.

Fifty-one prospective MEPs from nine parties will fight it out for the seven seats on offer in the European Parliament for the region.

Efforts are being made to raise the profile of the elections, which take place on June 10, in a bid to increase the turnout from the 21% that voted in 1999.

Unlike the General Election, a system of proportional representation is used, in which the number of seats a political party gains broadly corresponds to its overall share of the vote.

Under the system, the electorate votes for a particular party as opposed to a specific candidate.

The only time it is possible to vote for an individual is where independent candidates unaffiliated to any political party are standing.

The candidates that eventually go to Brussels are chosen by their political party. Before the vote, each party ranks their candidates in a list of priority, so those candidates placed at the top of a party's list will have a better chance of becoming an MEP than those at the bottom.

Polling stations can be found across the county and are open from 7am until 10pm.

The results will be revealed on June 13.

The list of candidates and their position in their parties' list of priority are as follows:

BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY 1) Simon Darby, 2) Simon Smith, 3) Martin Roberts, 4) Robert Purcell, 5) Mark Payne, 6) Michael Coleman, 7) William Locke.

CONSERVATIVES 1) Philip Bushill-Matthews, 2) Philip Bradbourn, 3) Malcolm Harbour, 4) Andrew Griffiths, 5) Peter Butler, 6) Michael Burnett, 7) Jeremy Lefroy.

GREEN PARTY 1) Chris Lennard, 2) Tom Hellberg, 3) Barney Smith, 4) Damon Hoppe, 5) David Wall, 6) Rebecca Roseff, 7) Felicity Norman.

LABOUR 1) Michael Cashman, 2) Neena Gill, 3) Sue Hayman, 4) Tony Carroll, 5) Claire Edwards, 6) Mohammad Nazir, 7) Jane Heggie.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS 1) Liz Lynne, 2) Paul Tilsley, 3) Phillip Bennion, 4) Martin Turner, 5) Lorely Burt, 6) Nicola Davies, 7) Mike Dixon.

RESPECT - THE UNITY COALITION 1) John Rees, 2) Salma Yaqoob, 3) Cheryl Jacqueline, 4) Mohammad Naseem, 5) Winfred Mary, 6) Anil Seera, 7) Penelope Hicks.

UK INDEPENDENCE 1) Mike Nattrass, 2) Richard Bradford, 3) Denis Brookes, 4) Richard Chamings, 5) Christopher Kingsley, 6) Greville Warwick, 7) Andrew Moore.


PENSIONERS' PARTY 1) Barry Hodgson.