EU elections: ‘Eurosceptic’ gains not as dominant as predicted

So-called ‘Eurosceptic’ and ‘populist’ parties have put in a strong performance in a number of EU member states in the 2019 European elections, preliminary voting results suggest.

However, such political groupings have not dominated proceedings in the way that some political commentators across the bloc had predicted they would.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, the ‘green wave’ that has emerged in Ireland’s early election results has been repeated throughout the continent.

With both of these groups making some gains, more established centrist parties – such as the European People’s Party (EPP – of which Fine Gael is a member) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) haven’t performed as well as had been anticipated.

Euroscepticism

In France, which has 78 seats up for grabs, the virulently anti-EU National Rally party is in the lead, with around 23% of the vote.

The party is led by Marine Le Pen, who has long campaigned against the EU, and who finished second behind Emmanuel Macron in France’s 2017 presidential election.

Current French President, Emmanuel Macron’s En March party had a disappointing showing, polling just behind the National Rally at 22%.

In Italy, the two government parties –  the Lega Party and the Five-Star Movement, who also frequently rail against EU policies – have dominated in the country, currently accounting for over 50% of the vote combined.

However, the Eurosceptic parties will not, it appears, gain a balance of power in the European Parliament at the expense of the centre-left and centre-right parties, when all votes across the continent are taken into account.

For example, in much of northern Europe, such as Germany and Scandinavia, the Eurosceptic turnout has been far less prominent.

‘Green wave’

The notable ‘green wave’ that has been seen in Ireland isn’t just a one-off, according to early indications.

France’s green-ecologist political party The Greens is polling at approximately 13%.

Germany’s Greens are also putting in a strong showing, which is expected to pick up just over 20% of the vote there.

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