EU election: Forecast shows big wins for far-right parties, Greens win big

BRUSSELS (AP) — Far-right parties scored sweeping victories in European Union parliamentary elections, suffering stunning defeats for the bloc’s two most prominent leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party Dominated the polls A massive political risk that could delay the remainder of his presidential term, which ends in 2027, as Macron immediately dissolves the national parliament and calls for new elections, as his party suffers heavy losses.

More than 50 countries will go to the polls in 2024

In Germany, Scholz suffered such a ignominious fate that his longtime Social Democratic Party fell behind the far-right Alternative for Germany, which rose to second place.

Adding insult to injury, National Rally front-runner Jordan Bartella, 28, immediately took on a presidential tone with his victory speech in Paris, beginning “my dear comrades” and adding, “The French people have given their verdict,” and it was final.

Macron conceded defeat. “I have heard your message, your concerns, and I will not leave them unanswered,” he said, adding that calling for snap elections only underscored his democratic credentials.

The four-day referendum in 27 EU countries is the world’s second largest exercise in democracy, behind India’s recent election. In the end, the rise of the far right has been more dramatic than many analysts predicted. The French National Rally was at 30%, or twice that of Macron’s pro-European centrist Renew party, which is forecast to reach around 15%.

Germany, the most populous country in the 27-member bloc, Predictions are indicated Rising to 16.5% from 11% in 2019, the AfD overcame a string of scandals involving its primary candidate. By comparison, the combined result of the three parties in Germany’s governing coalition barely reached 30%.

Across the EU as a whole, two mainstream and pro-European groups, the Christian Democrats and the Socialists, were the dominant forces. The far-right’s gains came at the expense of the Greens, who were expected to lose about 20 seats and fall back to sixth place in the legislature.

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For decades, the European Union, with its roots in the defeat of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, confined the hard right to the political fringes. With its strong showing in these elections, the far right can now play a key role in policies ranging from migration to security and climate.

The Greens are forecast to drop from 20% to 12% in Germany, a traditional stronghold for environmentalists, with larger losses expected in France and several EU countries. Their failure could have implications for the EU as a whole Climate change policiesYet the rest of the world is very progressive.

EU Commission President Ursula van der Leyen of the centre-right Christian Democrats, already weakened its green credentials Ahead of the referendum, it dominated Germany with almost 30%, handily defeating Scholz’s Social Democrats, who fell behind the AfD to 14%.

“You have already set a trend – a strong force, stable, in difficult times and far away,” van der Leyen told his German supporters via video link from Brussels.

As in France, the hard right, which has focused its campaign on migration and crime, was expected to make significant gains in Italy, where Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has sought to consolidate her power.

Voting will continue in Italy into the evening and many of the 27 member states have yet to release forecasts. Nevertheless, the data already published confirmed earlier predictions: the EU’s massive exercise in democracy is expected to shift the bloc to the right and turn its future around.

As the central government loses seats to hard-right parties, the EU may find it difficult to pass legislation and decision-making at the world’s largest trade meeting can sometimes be paralyzed.

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EU lawmakers, who serve five-year terms in the 720-seat parliament, have a say on issues ranging from financial rules to climate and agricultural policy. They approve the EU budget, which includes infrastructure projects, farm subsidies and Aid was given to Ukraine. They have a veto on appointments to the powerful EU Commission.

The elections come at a time when voter confidence will be tested in the constituency of about 450 million people. In the last five years, the European Union Shaken by the corona virus infectionA Economic collapse And a Energy crisis It was fueled by the largest land conflict in Europe since World War II. But political campaigning often focuses on issues of concern in individual countries rather than broader European interests.

A voting marathon began in the Netherlands on Thursday, where an unofficial exit poll suggested Geert Wilders’ hard-right anti-immigrant party would. Important gainsA coalition of pro-European parties probably relegated it to second place.

Voted in the Flanders region, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who holds the EU’s rotating presidency until the end of the month, warned that Europe was “more under pressure than ever”.

After the last EU election in 2019, populist or far-right parties now lead governments in three countries – Hungary, Slovakia and Italy – and are part of governing coalitions in other countries, including Sweden, Finland and, soon, the Netherlands. Polls favor the populists France, Belgium, Austria and Italy.

“The right is good,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who leads a hardline nationalist and anti-immigrant government, told reporters after his vote. “It’s always better to go right. Go right!”

After the election comes a period of horse-trading, as political parties renegotiate their places in the continental coalitions that run the European Parliament.

The largest political group – the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) – has moved further to the right during the current elections on issues such as security, climate and migration.

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is one of the most viewed questions Brothers of Italy Meloni’s ruling party – a populist with neo-fascist roots – is among the most hard-line European conservatives and reformers, or becomes part of a new hard-right group that could produce an electoral surge. Meloni has a desire to work with EPP.

A more worrying scenario for pro-European parties is if the ECR consolidates hard-right influence with Le Pen’s identity and the Democratic Party.

The second largest group – the centre-left Socialists and Democrats – and the Greens refuse to align themselves with the ECR.

There are also questions about which group Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party might join. It was formerly part of the EPP Forced out 2021 due to conflicts over its interests and values. The far-right Alternative for Germany has been kicked out of the Identity and Democracy Group following a series of scandals surrounding its two leading candidates for the European Parliament.

The election also ushers in a period of uncertainty as new leaders are chosen for European institutions. While lawmakers jostle for seats in the coalition, governments will vie for top EU jobs for their national officials.

Chief among them is the leadership of the powerful executive body, the European Commission, which proposes laws and monitors to ensure they are respected. The Commission controls the EU’s purse strings, regulates trade and is Europe’s competition watchdog.

Other plum positions include European Council president, who chairs summits of presidents and prime ministers, and EU foreign policy chief, the bloc’s top diplomat.

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Associated Press reporters Sylvain Blassy in Brussels and Kier Molson in Berlin contributed to this report.

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Check out AP’s coverage of the 2024 global elections Here.

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