The election to the European Parliament were organized in 28 EU Member Countries between May 23 and 26, 2019.
Latest results show that Europeans have dealt a blow to the continent’s big center-left and center-right blocs, depriving them of the majority in the European Parliament for the first time in favor of a fractured slate of pro-EU lawmakers.
At the same time, according to Washington Post, “far-right leaders were on track for their best Europe-wide result ever, but it was only an incremental gain over their result from 2014 - suggesting that despite years of tumult, voters might not be ready to give up on the European Union, or to embrace leaders who want to weaken it from within“.
Pro-EU forces took nearly two-thirds of seats in the European Parliament. However, the European People’s Party (EPP) group and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) won a total of 329 seats combined in a 751-seat European Parliament, meaning that coalition with the liberal-centrist Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group will be needed for the majority in the European Parliament.
Leader of the ALDE Guy Verhofstadt assessed the evening as a historical moment, “because there will be a new balance of power in the European Parliament”. “For the first time in 40 years, the two classical parties, socialists and conservatives, will no longer have a majority”, said Verhofstadt.
“There is no chance for any cooperation with extremists from the left and from the right”, the EPP leader and group’s lead candidate for the President of the European Commission, Manfred Weber, told journalists on Sunday night.
Voters boosted Liberals, Greens and other pro-EU leftists, with Greens and other pro-environment, socially liberal parties surging to third or even second place in many countries, including France and Germany.
BBC noted that populists gained ground in some countries - especially in Italy, where Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s League party won almost 34 percent of the vote, compared to 17 percent in 2018 national elections - but fell short of the very significant gains some had predicted.
Salvini campaigned across Italy on a fierce platform of turning back migrants and weakening the European Union. However, according to Washington Post, most of his potential partners in Europe made small gains, if any. “They were never expected to take a majority of the parliament; now it’s unlikely they will be strong enough to be a blocking minority”, reported the Washington Post.
Voters’ turnout, standing at slightly over 51 percent and up from 42.6 in 2014, was the highest in more than 20 years. Turnout in Hungary and Poland more than doubled on the previous poll, and Denmark hit a record 63 percent.