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Surprisingly perhaps, given that the closed list is theoretically the easiest for parties to control, women's representation is relatively low amongst UK Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) at almost 26 percent (20 female).151 This was partly influenced by the fact that in the most recent election none of UKIP's 12 elected MEPs was a woman, and Labour, which tends to have more female candidates than other large parties, lost seats. In comparison, 38 percent of Irish MEPs were female in 2004.152 As put by Julie Ballington of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (2007), political parties can, regardless of the voting system, remain 'gatekeepers to the advancement of women in politics'.153

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