EM Special Brief on EU Elections:

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EM Special Brief on EU Elections:
European People’s Party (EPP) Leads with clear majority Country wise breakup

  Padmashree Anandhan

By Padmashree Anandhan

In the held EU elections between 06 to 09 June, the European People’s Party (EPP) won by clear majority against the major gains made by the Far-right groups. According to the 
report in Politico the EPP is on track to have 184 lawmakers. The centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) have maintained their position while the liberal Renew declined. Manfred Weber, the leader of the EPP Group in the Parliament said: “We are the party of industry, we are the party of rural areas, we are the farmers’ party of Europe.”

Following are the country wise results:

Far-right takes the first place

On 09 June, the Far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) won the first place with 25.5 per cent votes advancing Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) which secured 24.7 per cent and Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) which got 23.3 per cent. In a statement, Freedom Party leader Herbet Kicki said: “This election result means nothing less than that Austrians have made history today.” The Greens, Nehammer’s expressed the dissatisfaction and assured to convince the voters in the coming months against “irregular migration and overregulation.” (“
Election shifts the European Parliament further right,” Ekathimerini, 10 June 2024)

Right-wing posed to win in the regional poll
On 09 June, Alexander De Croo, Belgium’s Prime Minister announced his resignation following the loss in federal and regional elections. He said: “This is is a very difficult evening for us. We have lost this election.” Croo’s Flemish liberal party, Open VLD is predicted to lose more than half the seats in the Chamber of Representatives. The vote held on 09 June showcased the divide between the Dutch speaking population in the north and French-speaking residing in the south (Wallonia) The right-wing nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) are expected to win with 17 per cent while the Far-right Vlaams Belang secured 14 per cent of vote. Both Flanders and N-VA hold a joint agreement to prevent the Far-right from parliament but for first time, centre-right Reformists Movement (MR) displaces the Socialist Party in Wallonia. Until negotiations complete between right-wing and French speaking  to form coalition government, De Croo to remain as acting prime minister. (“
Belgian PM announces resignation after 'difficult evening',” Deutsche Welle, 09 June 2024)

Macron dissolves the Parliament as Far-right takes lead in the EU elections

On 09 June, Emmanuel Macron, France’s President announced dissolution of the National Assembly and called for snap elections following the loss of his coalition in the EU parliamentary elections. According to the first exit polls, the National Rally led by Marine Le Pen won 32 per cent double Macron’s coalition. In a address, Macron said: “Far right parties ... are progressing everywhere in the continent. It is a situation to which I cannot resign myself.” He also added on how the results are not in favour of the pro-EU parties. Le Pen on winning said: “We are ready to take over the power if the French give us their trust in the upcoming national elections.” The lead candidate of the National Rally, Jordon Bardella said: “Emmanuel Macron is a weakened president, already deprived of an absolute majority in the French parliament and now restricted in his means of action within the European Parliament.” The performance of the National Rally will be watched close on 30 June and 07 June as it decides if Le Pen’s party can maintain the stance till 2027. A lead socialist candidate Raphaël Glucksmann on the triumph of the Far right said: “Everywhere in Europe, we are witnessing a wave that is shaking our democracy.” (“
France's Macron dissolves parliament, calls new elections,” France 24, 09 June 2024; “Giorgio Leali, Nicolas Camut And Eddy Wax, “France's Macron dissolves parliament, calls new elections,” Politico, 09 June 2024)

Scholz coalition parties suffers decline

On 09 June, spokesperson of Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor announced on holding of regular election in next autumn rather than snap elections despite the poor performance in the election. In the vote held, all three coalition parties of Scholz suffered defeat with 14 per cent behind Far-right AfD at 16 per cent, conservative CDU-CSU winning the first place with 30 per cent and Greens with 12 per cent while liberal FDP at five per cent. Alice Weidel, co-leader of the AfD said: “There is now only one task left for Scholz: clear the way for new elections – instead of governing for another year against a large majority of the population.” Whereas Markus Söder, the leader of the conservatives said on the three-way coalition “No longer has the support of the population." (“
Germany: No snap election, says Chancellor Scholz's spokesman,” Le Monde, 10 June 2024)

Right-wing Fidesz party wins; Result also favours the opposition

On 09 June, Victor Orban, Hungary Prime Minister’s Fidesz party secured the major seats in the regional elections with 43 per cent a reduction from 52 per cent in 2019 EU elections. Orban said: “In a war situation and in a difficult battle, we have scored important victories.” Fidesz party has remained the dominant actor in Hungary since 2010. Economic crisis alongside party scandals, the Fidesz has influenced the party’s performance while it retains itself as the upholder of family values and Christian conservatism. Hungary’s strongest opposition, Respect and Freedom (TISZA) led by Péter Magyar won 30 per cent in the vote held on 09 June. Magyar said: “Today, it became clear to every Hungarian that no one has to be afraid anymore in Hungary.” According to the report, the election has been used by Magyar to boost his and the movement to defeat Orban in 2026 elections. He argues the Fidesz to have used “propaganda machine” to create social divisions withing Hungarians. While the result favours TISZA, indicating a possible shift in Hungary, right-wing populists have been clear gain in the EU elections pushing the EU’s decision making into Gray zone. (“
Orbán’s party takes most votes in Hungary’s EU election, but new challenger scores big win,” Toronto Star, 09 June 2024)

Prime Minister Meloni’s party emerges winner at the cost of coalition parties

On 09 June, Giorgia Meloni’s Far-right party Brothers of Italy won the EU elections with 28 per cent of votes serving as a boost to her domestic and regional leadership. The results at the cost of her coalition partners as the League party of Matteo Salvini lost 34 per cent votes with only 8.5 per cent gain and Forza Italia winning only nine per cent. Meloni following the result said: “I’m proud that we are heading to the G7 and to Europe with the strongest government of all.” Although the results were in favour, Meloni’s government need a strong mandate to address the challenges especially the public finances and drafting of budget for 2025. Giovanni Orsina, director of the school of government at LUISS university in Rome said: “I think that Meloni gets out of these elections stronger, first of all because this is a government that has not lost consensus, which is quite unique in Europe.” (Giada Zampano, “
Italy’s Premier Meloni gets domestic, European boost from EU election win,” Associated Press, 10 June 2024)

Left-wing parties advance

On 09 June, both left wing and green parties saw progress in Nordic EU elections as far-right support reduced. In Sweden, the Social Democrats emerged as winner with 25 per cent votes. Although Sweden Democrats Party (Far-right) aimed to win more than the ruling Moderate Party led by Ulf Kristersson, it manged to win only 13.2 per cent placed after Moderate and Green Party. In Denmark, the Socialist People’s Party emerged the largest with 17.4 per cent vote while the ruling Social Democrats lost 5.9 per cent with 15.6 per cent votes. Whereas in Finland, the ruling National Coalition Party under Petteri Orpo won 24.8 per cent vote granting four seats in the EU Parliament. The socialist Left Alliance won 17.3 per cent which still allows three seats in the Parliament out of 15 for Finland. The Finns Party which forms part of the ruling coalition saw a decline of 6.2 per cent with only 7.6 per cent votes.

About the Author

Padmashree Anandhan is a Project Associate at the School of Conflict and Security Studies, NIAS, Bangalore. Her areas of interest include domestic politics and protests movements in Western Europe. She is currently working on a issue brief on expansion of NATO in the Nordic.

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