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The far-Right surges in the European Parliament (EP) election while the big centre-right and centre-left blocs have lost their combined majority. However, the far-right fell short of the very significant gains, which was predicted by a number of analysts.

The election sees rise of the right-wing Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group in the EP, which doubled in size and won domestically across the EU.

The ENF, which combines far-right and populist parties in countries including France and Italy, looked set to secure 58 seats, up 18 from five years ago.

Gains for nationalist parties in Italy, France and elsewhere means a greater say for Eurosceptics who want to curb the EU’s powers. However, the centre-right European People’s Party remains the largest bloc, and is expected to form a pro-EU coalition.

Media reports said:

There is an increase in support for nationalists, liberals and Greens.

Turnout was the highest for 20 years, after decades of decline. The turnout rose to just under-51% of eligible 403 million voters across the 28 member states. Turnout in Hungary and Poland more than doubled on the previous poll, and Denmark hit a record 63%. A total of 751 members of the EP were elected.

Marine Le Pen: Dissolve National Assembly

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party, formerly the National Front, was celebrating victory over French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance alliance, securing 24% of the vote to his 22.5%.

Le Pen has called on Macron to dissolve the National Assembly after her party took over the bloc led by the French president in European elections. Le Pen said, it is now about her party versus Macron’s.

Greece: Early election

The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for an early election after the opposition conservative New Democracy party won 33.5% of the votes to 20% for his Syriza party.

Spain: Socialists lead

In Spain, the ruling Socialist party (PSOE) took a clear lead with 32.8% of the vote and 20 seats, while the far-right Vox party won just 6.2% and three seats – coming in fifth.

Germany: Centrists suffer

In Germany, both major centrist parties suffered. Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats dropped from 35% of the vote in 2014 to 28%, while the centre-left Social Democratic Union fell from 27% to 15.5%.

The right-wing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) performed worse than expected while still improving on their first results in 2014.

UK: Brexit Party leads

In the UK, the newly formed Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, took an early lead with 32% of the vote, amid gains for the Liberal Democrats and significant losses for the major Conservative and Labour parties.

With results announced early Monday for all of England and Wales, the Brexit Party had won 28 of the 73 British EU seats up for grabs and almost a third of the votes.

The Liberal Democrats took about 20% of the vote and 15 seats — up from only one at the last EU election in 2014.

Labour came third with 10 seats, followed by the Greens with seven.

The ruling Conservatives were in fifth place with just three EU seats and under 10% of the vote.

With the results, the UK has plunged into increased Brexit chaos.

Italy: Efforts for alliance

Matteo Salvini, who leads Italy’s League party, has been working to establish an alliance of at least 12 parties, and his party set the tone winning over 30% of the vote, according to partial results.

Hungary: Anti-immigrants win

In Hungary, Viktor Orban, whose anti-immigration Fidesz party won 52% the vote and 13 of the country’s 21 seats, was also a big winner.

Belgium: Rights celebrate

Belgium’s right-wing Flemish Interest (VB), a member of the ENF – threw a party outside Brussels to celebrate its success in several areas of the country during regional, federal and EU Parliamentary elections, which were all held on May 26.

The VB became the 2nd largest party in Flanders. In some areas, it gained from 20% to 38% of votes. The VB also took 2nd place in the EP race with about 11.5% of votes, a close call for competitors N-VA who scored 13.5%.

Right’s pressure

The traditionalist parties were stronger in other countries, but still faced increasing pressure from the right-wingers.

Dutch Labor Party (PvdA) won in the Netherlands while anti-immigrant right-wing Party of Freedom (PVV) plunged to an all-time low of 3.5 percent. Forum for Democracy, another Dutch right-wing party that did not exist during the 2014 EP elections, has secured 11 percent of votes. This right-wing party is likely to support some of PVV’s ideas.

No grand-coalition

Based on current estimates, the previously dominant conservative EPP and Socialists and Democrats blocs will be unable to form a “grand coalition” in the EU parliament without support.

Pro-EU parties are still expected to hold a majority of seats however, largely due to gains made by the liberal ALDE bloc, and particularly a decision taken by the party of French President Emmanuel Macron to join the group.

Greens: Gains

There were major successes for the Greens, with exit polls suggesting the group would jump from 50 to around 67 MEPs.

EP: Shrink in size

The EP is the European Union’s law-making body with 751 members, called MEPs.

EU voters directly elect the MEPs every five years. The MEPs represent the interests of citizens from the EU’s 28 member states.

One of the parliament’s main legislative roles is scrutinizing and passing laws proposed by the European Commission. It is also responsible for electing the president of the European Commission and approving the EU budget.

After Brexit, the EP will actually shrink in size, with 27 out of 73 British seats in the EP being distributed among underrepresented EU nations. Another 46 seats will remain reserved for possible future EU members.


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