European Parliament voting begins in Netherlands, UK

- EU results will be announced Sunday; England, Northern Ireland also voting in local elections.

By Martin Banks and Inci Gundag

BRUSSELS (AA) -- The four-day 2014 elections for seats in the European Parliament got underway Thursday in the Netherlands and the U.K.

The results, however, will not be announced until late Sunday, after all 28 EU countries have held their EU parliamentary elections. But some exit polls results will likely be available Thursday evening.

Voters in England and Northern Ireland will also be electing local councillors. Millions of voters will be heading to polling stations as they will be able to vote until 10 p.m. local time. This year's voting is considered as an important indicator of the public opinion before next year's general election.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, voted early Thursday morning in London's Westminster area.

Turnout for the European Parliament elections, both in the Netherlands and in the U.K., is expected to be as low as 30 percent. And the low turnout may help anti-EU, anti-immigration parties.

For example, in the U.K. a YouGov poll Wednesday night showed the country's U.K. Independence Party, commonly referred to as UKIP, with 27 percent, ahead of the country's three major parties -- the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. 

And in the Netherlands, a Nos poll earlier this week saw the two main Liberal parties, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and the Democrats 66, with the support of between 15 and 18 percent of the voters. The survey showed the anti-immigrant Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders with 14 to 17 percent support, and the center-left Labour faction with 12 to 14 percent.

In England, there will be elections in 161 councils, including 32 London boroughs. Voters will elect or re-elect 4,216 local councilors across England, with almost half of those in London.

In Northern Ireland, there will be elections in 11 councils and voters will elect 462 representatives.

In addition, Ireland will start voting for the EU elections on Friday, on the same day as local elections.

More than 80 candidates from Turkish-speaking communities are competing for seats in their local councils. Most are reportedly from London's Enfield, Haringey, Hackney and Islington areas, where Turkish communities are based.

Local election results are expected to be announced Friday morning.

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