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26 May, 2019 21:00

EU elections over: Exit polls show surge for right-wing & green parties amid high turnout

EU elections over: Exit polls show surge for right-wing & green parties amid high turnout

The three days of European Parliament elections have concluded across the EU. Exit polls show a surging rise of right-wing and Euroskeptic parties, and a heavy blow dealt to pro-EU centrists.

The pro-European bloc EPP and the Social-Democratic alliance S&D have lost their combined majority and are expected to shrink significantly – from 221 and 191 back in 2014 to 179 and 150, respectively. They remain the two largest voting blocs in the parliament, however.

The predicted rise of right-wing parties across the union has apparently come true. In France, Marine Le Pen's National Rally party looks set to obtain around 24 percent of votes, according to different exit polls, narrowly beating President Emmanuel Macron's party, which is expected to score some 22 percent.

In Hungary, PM Viktor Orban's party scored a solid win, receiving support of some 52 percent of the voters. His closest competitors, the leftist Democratic Coalition and centrist Momentum Movement got 16 and nearly 10 percent, respectively.

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The German ruling coalition suffered significant losses, as the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) scored around 28.7 and 15.6 percent, respectively. The country’s Greens, meanwhile, surged to second place with almost 21 percent of votes, doubling its result from the previous election. The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) came in fourth, scoring nearly 11 percent, almost 4 percent more than in 2014.

Austrian right-wingers have apparently been left unshaken by the political scandals that have caused the ruling coalition to collapse. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s center-right People's Party has shown its best-ever result in the EU polls and has gained 34.9 percent of votes.

“It is a barnstorming result. We have achieved the best result of all time, the biggest lead of all time over the second-placed party,” Kurz told his supporters,

Austria's Social Democrats are in second place with some 23.4 percent, while the scandalized member of the now-defunct ruling coalition, the Freedom Party (FPO) is in third place with 17.2 percent.

In Poland, the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party came first with 43.1 percent of the vote, according to the provisional tally.

Spain’s PM Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Party has secured a solid win, getting over 32 percent of votes. The conservative Popular Party scored second with around 20 percent, while the recently formed right-wing Vox Party has received its first three representatives in the EU Parliament, with the support of some 6.2 percent.

Italy’s right-wing League party, led by deputy PM Matteo Salvini, has won the EU elections in his country, scoring 33.6 percent. The 5-Star movement, led by another deputy PM, Luigi Di Maio, took 16.6 percent and got overtaken by the center-left Democratic Party, which received some 23.5 percent of the votes.

The result is a massive gain for the League, which emerged with only 6.2 percent back in 2014 and some 17 percent last year, during the country’s general elections.

In Greece, however, the socialists lost their positions as the embattled ruling SYRIZA party garnered the support of some 24 percent of voters, while the main opposition party, right-wing New Democracy took a solid lead with 33 percent.

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The turnout for the union-wide elections has become the largest in two decades, with an estimated 51 percent of voters showing up at the polling stations. It's the greatest turnout since 1994, when over 56 percent of Europeans partook in the polls.

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