France’s once-dominant center-left and center-right parties still haven’t recovered from their defeat two years ago at the hands of Emmanuel Macron.
The Socialists got only 6 percent support in European elections on Sunday, the same share as the far left. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republicans got 8.5 percent, down from 21 percent five years ago.
Dutch voters punished Euroskeptic parties of the left and right on Thursday, according to unofficial election results and an exit poll.
The far-right Freedom Party, led by Geert Wilders, and the far-left Socialists would struggle to retain their seats in the European Parliament. The former currently has four, the latter two.
An exit poll conducted by Ipsos gives the two parties one seat each. But voting results from 732 of 9340 polling places suggest neither might qualify at all. The exit poll has a one-seat margin of error.
The official result is not announced until Sunday night, when all the EU’s 28 member states will have voted. But Dutch law requires individual polling places to read out their results on election night. Volunteers for the populist blog GeenStijl tallied the results, which were then analyzed by Ipsos’ competitor, Peil.nl. Read more “Dutch Voters Punish Euroskeptics, Give Labor Victory”
European elections kick off in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom on Thursday with most of the other 26 member states voting on Sunday.
The temptation is to force a single narrative on the elections. American and British media in particular are obsessed with the performance of the Euroskeptic right. But it is only part of the story.
The elections span a continent of 500 million people. Turnout in European elections is usually low, but those who do vote tend to do so on the basis of national, not European, issues. Hence the elections are less a referendum on the EU than a test for incumbent leaders and governments.
The delay of Brexit could benefit the European left in elections in May.
A poll conducted by Hanbury Strategy for Open Europe found that the British Labour Party could win nearly 38 percent support and close to thirty seats in Strasbourg.
That would make theirs the largest delegation in the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), surpassing the German Social Democrats, and close the gap with the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), which stands to gain nothing from Brexit. Theresa May’s Conservatives group with the mildly Euroskeptic European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) instead.
I write about “Europe’s Primary Season” for the Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist blog. Manfred Weber and Alexander Stubb are vying to become the leading candidate of the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) in next year’s European Parliament elections. The winner would be in a strong position to claim the presidency of the European Commission.
Macron is a former investment banker who styles himself as a liberal champion of the European Union. Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right League party, has emerged as Europe’s leading nationalist — one who has pledged to bring the European project to a crashing halt.