Written by 11:08 am Highlighted side bottom, Politics

These are the shifts in power in the European Parliament

Voters are pushing Europe to the right. The big losers are the socialist German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the liberal French President Emmanuel Macron, who immediately called parliamentary elections.

The first forecasts of the European elections are causing a shift in the balance of power in several Member States and a shock effect in national politics.

In Germany, the ruling red-green-blue coalition is being severely punished. The big winner is the conservative opposition (CDU-CSU) of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is forecast to finish second with 16.5 percent. That is a gain of 5.5 percentage points compared to five years ago, despite recent investigations for open Nazi sympathies. AfD would win sixteen seats in the European Parliament, but is without a faction due to its extremism.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s radical right-wing Rassemblement National (RN) won by no means thanks to its 28-year-old party leader Jordan Bardella. They are projected to win 31.5 percent of the vote, more than twice as much as President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition, which is neck-and-neck with the center-left list at 15 percent, according to an Ipsos estimate.

Macron immediately announced parliamentary elections. The two rounds will take place on June 30 and July 7. Macron seems to be opting for a leap forward, because if the populist wave in France can maintain the momentum until the 2027 presidential elections, a Le Pen victory would plunge the entire EU into an impasse.

In Austria, the far-right FPÖ appears to be the winner with 27 percent of the vote, an increase of 10 percentage points compared to 2019. The party campaigned with the slogan ‘Austria neutral’ and maintains close ties with the Kremlin. The radical right is also expected to win in Italy with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Hungary with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’ PVV won six seats, but the left-wing bloc of GroenLinks-PvdA held on with eight seats.

The results lead to a rightward shift in the balance of power in the European Parliament, where 720 MEPs will now be sitting. In the previous legislature there was a workable majority of the centre-right EPP, the social democratic S&D and the liberal Renew faction.

According to the forecasts, this de facto tripartite will manage to save its majority. The EPP (190 seats), the S&D (136 seats) and Renew (80 seats) would together retain 406 seats. There are therefore still possibilities to form a center coalition, as in the previous term.

Last modified: July 19, 2024