Far-Right Surges In EU Elections But Center Remains Strong (Worthy News Radio)

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

PARIS/BRUSSELS/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Far-right parties surged in the European Union-wide elections for a new European Parliament, including in Germany and France, where President Emmanuel Macron called snap legislative elections within three weeks.

However, far-right and anti-Islam parties were still far behind the more moderate political groupings in the 720-seat European legislature, preliminary results showed early Monday.

The center-right pro-European People’s Party (EPP) was set to take 189 seats in the European Parliament, followed by the Socialists and Democrats with 135 and Renew Europe with 83, election officials said.

However, the European Conservatives and Reformists group, which includes parties such as Brothers of Italy of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni took 72 seats and the far-right Identity and Democracy 58, results showed.

Speaking to reporters at the European Parliament late Sunday, as results came in, the EU’s executive European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called “today a good day” for the EPP. “We won the European elections.”

Yet she expressed concern about the growing support for the “extremes” on the left and right. “This election has given us two messages,” she noticed.

“First, there remains a majority in the center for a strong Europe, and that is crucial for stability. In other words, the center is holding,” von der Leyen explained.

CONCERNS OVER EXTREMES

“But it is also true that the extremes on the left and on the right have gained support, and this is why the result comes with great responsibility for the parties in the center,” she added. “We may differ on individual points, but we all have an interest in stability and want a strong and effective Europe.”

The lead candidate also said she wants to continue working “with those who are pro-European, pro-Ukraine, pro-rule of law.”

Von der Leyen, who aims to serve a second term as European Commission president, warned, “Of course, this election does not take place in a vacuum.”

“The world around us is in turmoil. Forces from the outside and from the inside are trying to destabilise our societies, and they are trying to weaken Europe. We will never let that happen,” she stressed.

“These election results show that the majority of Europeans want a strong Europe,” von der Leyen concluded.

However French President Macron wasn’t sure these sentiments were shared by the French electorate and called early legislative elections to take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7.

Analysts called it a “political poker game” after Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration, nationalist party was estimated to get around 32 percent more than double the share of Macron’s Renaissance party, which is due to reach around 15 percent.

DECISION CARRIES RISKS

Macron wasn’t on the ballot as he still has three years left in office. Yet his decision Sunday could backfire and increase the chances of Le Pen to eventually take power, commentators said.

Elsewhere in the 27-nation EU, Italy’s Prime Minister Meloni cemented her role as a key Brussels power broker with an estimated 28 percent of the votes.

The far-right FPÖ was also predicted to top the poll in Austria, doubling its number of legislators to six after gaining 25.7 percent of votes, the European Parliament projection said.

In Germany, the Christian-Democrat CDU and CSU party was projected to get just over 30 percent of the vote, similar to its 29 percent from 2019.

In the latest forecast, far-right Alternative for Germany came third with 14.2,percent up from 11 percent in 2019, and just behind the Social Democrats of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In Hungary, the rightwing Fidesz party of longtime Prime Minister Viktor Orbán became again the biggest political force but he was closely followed by the oppositional TISZA-Respect and Freedom Party.

Orbán took the stage in Hungary on the sound of the song Listen to Your Heart – a longtime Fidesz tradition – and declared victory.

PEACE AND WAR

“I have never seen one issue , like the peace and war today, so dominating in almost all European Union countries,” he told reporters earlier, referring to the war in neighboring Ukraine. “So this election is a real European Union one. It is not about membership elections. It is more than that. It is an all European pro-peace or pro-war election.”

But there were also big celebrations at the election event of former government insider-turned-opposition politician Péter Magyar’s TISZA party.

Orbán’s Fidesz got the most votes, but its performance has been its worse in years. With most votes counted, Fidesz would gain 11 and TISZA 7 of Hungary’s 21 seats in the European Parliament.

At Tisza’s election night event, supporters were chanting: “We are the future!” Magyar called the election the Fidesz government’s Waterloo and “the beginning of the end”.

And in a further setback for Orbán, liberal
Gergely Karácsony was reelected as mayor of Budapest in municipal elections with just 324 more votes than Fidesz backed candidate Dávid Vitézy.

The outcome of Sunday’s local and European elections marked a shift in the Hungarian political landscape and could set the tone ahead of national elections in 2026.

Orbán has heen at loggerheads with Brussels over issues ranging from his pro-Russia views on the war in Ukraine to concerns over corruption and the rule of law. These tensions were also expected to complicate Hungary taking over the rotating half-year EU presidency in July.

There was more bad news for Orbán: With 98 percent of votes counted, Dutch media reported that the anti-Islam Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom, a close ally of Orbán, has not done as well as expected.

The Netherlands clearly voted for the Labour/Green Left alliance first (8 seats) and the Party for Freedom second with 6 seats, not 7 as exit polls had suggested. More than half of the EU’s nearly 400 million voters bothered to cast ballots.

It’s now up to the next European Parliament to deal with a new political reality.

Copyright 1999-2024 Worthy News. This article was originally published on Worthy News and was reproduced with permission.


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