• Thursday, 18 July 2024

Dust settles on European elections as centre-right declares victory

Dust settles on European elections as centre-right declares victory

Brussels, 10 June 2024 (dpa/MIA) - The EU's centre-right celebrated victory after provisional results for the European Parliament elections boosted the chances of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen of a second term, in a vote that also saw a surge of the far right.

"Today is a good day for the EPP," von der Leyen said as the initial forecasts were released on Sunday night, referring to her centre-right European People's Party (EPP) group.

In a speech welcoming the result, von der Leyen said that she would work with political groups from the centre left and liberals that originally backed her to win reappointment.

The EPP won 184 seats in the European Parliament, according to the latest provisional results from the EU legislature, making it the largest group by a comfortable margin, followed by the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) on 139.

Liberal parties however fell from 102 seats to 80 seats while Green parties are also projected to lose a large number of European Parliament seats, down from 71 to 52.

Both groups are important sources of support for von der Leyen in a potential confirmation vote in the European Parliament.

Continent-wide elections for the European Parliament had their last day of voting on Sunday, in a poll that saw some 360 million people across the 27 EU member states eligible to cast their ballots over four days.

There were 720 seats up for grabs in the EU legislature, meaning von der Leyen needs 361 seats for a majority.

The EPP, S&D and the liberals combined were projected to have over 400 votes.

Preliminary results also showed the far right made significant returns in Germany, France and Italy.

Parties in the far-right groups in the European Parliament, from the Identity and Democracy (ID) and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) groups, garnered an estimated 131 seats, a gain of 13 seats compared to the last elections in 2019.

While this increase is modest, at a national level the impacts of the European parliament election vote is already visible.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) polled ahead of the party of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In France, French President Emmanuel Macron decided to dissolve parliament, announcing new national elections, after his party lost to the far-right National Rally led by Marine Le Pen.

Von der Leyen notably did not immediately seek support from more extreme right wing parties.

On the campaign trail, the EU commission president drew criticism for not ruling out cooperation with them, in particular with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's nationalist Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, which came out on top in the EU-wide vote at home.

In her victory speech, von der Leyen even said that, together with other parties, she wanted to form "a bulwark against the extremes from the left and the right."

"We will stop them," she said.

Updated results are expected at 11 am (0900 GMT) from the EU legislature.