Right-wing gains in European parliament elections
Monday, May 26, 2014
BRUSSELS - Significant gains for right wing and eurosceptic political parties was the big story to emerge from the European elections.
The EU-wide vote saw Marine Le Pen´s Front National (FN) in France taking 25 per cent share of the vote. In Britain, the result for the UK Independence Party, which advocates withdrawal from the EU, was described as a "political earthquake" by its leader Nigel Farage.
The centre right European People´s Party is again the largest grouping in the assembly with an estimated 212 seats, or 28.23 per cent of the vote with the Socialists the second largest with 186 seats, or a 24.7 per cent vote share.
The Liberal group took 70 seats, the Greens 55 seats and the centre right European Conservatives and Reformist won 44 seats.
The two big pro-EU blocs, the EPP and Socialists, can easily muster a majority between them in the 751-seat chamber and may club together to prevent legislative gridlock.
While politicians from the largest political groups noted that the pro-European parties still remained by far in the majority, the results in several member states showed swathes of voters either voting for outright eurosceptic parties or voting for parties that called for change.
In Italy, the anti-establishment Five Star movement, headed up by former comedian Beppe Grillo came second.
The party has campaigned on taking Italy out of the Euro and giving Italians back their "monetary, economic and cultural sovereignty".
The far-left Syriza party in Greece capitalised on the country's dire economic circumstances and high unemployment to make the call for change. Party leader Alexis Tsipras said we have a "political agenda that cannot be ignored" in Brussels.
In the Netherlands, the far-right Partij voor de Vrijheid or PVV, led by Geert Wilders, did worse than anticipated coming in third, but the vote saw the two top parties only manage some 15 percent.
In Spain, anti-austerity party Podemos, founded earlier this year, scooped eight percent.
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