Elections round-up: how people voted across the EU

Country-by-country guide to elections that saw modest gains for the far-right in many member states

 

AUSTRIA

The conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) of Sebastian Kurz shrugged off 10 days of crisis, and his impending dismissal as chancellor, to finish seven points up on its 2014 showing. Secret recordings of graft revelations dented, without destroying, the populist Freedom Party’s (FPÖ) core vote. Other opposition parties held steady with no major gains. With an eye on September’s snap elections, some 90 per cent of voters admitted domestic rather than European issues were uppermost in their minds. – DS

BELGIUM

Belgium may be set to break its own record of surviving 589 days without a government (2010-11) after strong gains by the Flemish far right Vlaams Belang in its three elections – national, regional and European. In Flanders, the party is on track to finish second with about 18.5 per cent – a surge of over 13 percentage points. Conservative Flemish nationalists (NVA) will share power with the party at regional level, but Wallonian parties at national level will not breach the “cordon sanitaire” taboo of sharing power with it. – PS

BULGARIA

The ruling centre-right Gerb party of prime minister Boiko Borisov weathered a flurry of corruption scandals to take first place and six seats, one more than the opposition Socialists. Third place went to the liberal Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, which represents the country’s Turkish minority. The nationalist IMRO party claimed two seats, but several far-right groups with Eurosceptic and fiercely anti-immigration agendas failed to secure seats. – DMcL

CROATIA

Voters in the EU’s newest member state handed victory to the ruling Croatian Democratic Union, but the conservatives were disappointed to take just four seats, the same number secured by the second-placed Social Democrats. Four parties will each send one representative to the European Parliament for the first time: the far-right Croatian Sovereigntists; the eponymous party of prominent former judge Mislav Kolakusic; the populist, anti-immigration Zivi Zid (Human Shield) party and the new centre-left Amsterdam Coalition. – DMcL

CYPRUS

The election of the divided island’s first Turkish Cypriot MEP Niyazi Kizilyurek is a promising development at a time reunification negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots have stalled. Otherwise, the traditional balance of power has been preserved. The ruling centre right Disy won two seats, opposition communist Akel two seats, one by Kizilyurek, and the remaining two seats went to the nationalist-social democratic party Edek and centrist Diko. The extreme right did not secure seats but increased its support. – MJ

CZECH REPUBLIC

The populist Ano party of billionaire prime minister Andrej Babis won, taking six of the country’s 21 seats, despite recent major street protests over fraud allegations that he faces. The centre-right Civic Democrats came second and the anti-corruption Pirate Party third. The far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy took two seats and the Communists one seat. The formerly influential Social Democrats, who are now in a coalition with Ano, failed to win any seats. – DMcL

DENMARK

Ahead of next week’s general election, the ruling Liberals of prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen fared well while the populist People’s Party support collapsed, undermined by scandals over its use of EU funds and the emergence of newer hard-line parties. The Danish right-of-centre shrank from 55 to 43 per cent while the centre-left – (Social Liberals, Socialist People’s Party and left wing Red-Green Alliance) – increased their share and seats. – DS

ESTONIA

Just 38 per cent of Estonians turned out to vote, spreading their support across all major parties with no major surprises. Two seats apiece went to the liberal Reform Party, holding steady, and the Social Democrats – up one, followed by one seat each for other parties. – DS

FINLAND

The Green Wave reached as far north as Finland with a record win seeing gains of nearly 7 per cent and another MEP seat for the local Greens. Topping the poll, despite minor slippage, was the National Coalition Party, mirroring modest gains for the Social Democrats. The ruling Centre Party haemorrhaged support to lose a seat while the populist Finns held steady. – DS

FRANCE

Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement pusheD Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche into second place, but with a slight decline in her 2014 result. The Greens doubled their vote, leading Macron to pledge to put the climate issue centre-stage. Macron’s group will be the largest contingent in the new centre-ground European Parliament group that will replace the liberals of Alde, to which Fianna Fáil is affiliated. Gilet jaunes street protest candidates were eclipsed, while the once powerful Socialists and hard left party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon are consigned to the fringe. – PS

GERMANY

Germany’s Greens were the undisputed winners, doubling their support at the expense of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and overtaking the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD). Modest gains were posted by the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) as well as the far-right populist Alternative für Deutschaland, dampening the latter’s hopes of boosting further the populist bloc in the next EU parliament. – DS

GREECE

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras called a snap general election after his far-left Syriza party suffered a severe beating. The opposition New Democracy enjoyed a resurgence, taking one in three votes. The still stagnant economy and austerity, and nationalist anger over Tsipras’s concessions last June in the renaming of North Macedonia, were cited as factors. – PS

HUNGARY

Prime minister Viktor Orban’s nationalist Fidesz party dominated the election on a pledge to defend Hungary from mass immigration and EU overreach. Fidesz claimed 13 of the country’s 21 seats, and has threatened to defect from the European People’s Party to Matteo Salvini’s far-right group.

The leftist Democratic Coalition came second with four seats and the liberal Momentum group claimed two seats, sending its representatives to the European Parliament for the first time. – DMcL

ITALY

Matteo Salvini’s surging, nationalist, anti-immigration League dramatically overtook its coalition partner, the Five Star movement, as one in three Italians backed him. Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio said the coalition was not threatened. Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi won a seat but his Forza Italia now has the support of less than one in ten. The left-of-centre Democratic Party made some gains, but these merely underlined the weakness of the old left. – PS

LATVIA

The ruling centre-right New Unity party, political home of European Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis, won the poll to take a quarter of the vote and two of eight Latvian seats. On a turnout of just 33.6 per cent, the opposition left-wing Harmony party took second place the ahead of the right-wing National Alliance. – DS

LITHUANIA

Lithuania’s EU elections ran parallel to the poll electing economist Gitanas Nauseda as its new president. With turnout at 52.88 per cent the opposition Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats, of the European People’s Party, won three seats, and the Social Democrats two. The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union – the biggest party in the national parlimanet – took two further seats while four smaller parties each took one. – DS

LUXEMBOURG

With six seats in play, the conservative CSV – the party of outgoing European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker – were the main losers, reverting from three to two. The beneficiaries were the liberal Democratic Party, which also took two seats, along with a marginally larger share of the vote. The Greens, who took second place in 2014, were pushed into third, retaining their one seat. The Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party also retained its one seat. – PC

MALTA

No other party across the EU managed to get the share of the vote achieved by prime minister Joseph Muscat’s Labour Party. (The closest was Viktor Orban’s Fidesz in Hungary). Women lead the voting for three partes – Miriam Dalli for Labour, Roberta Metsola for the Nationalists, and Camilla Appelgren for the Democratic Party. The far-right made slight gains, garnering just under than 3.5 per cent of the vote. – PS

NETHERLANDS

As predicted, the new Right obliterated the old. Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party went from four seats to zero, while Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy took three of the 26 seats, less impressive than expected. The big surprise was a resurgent Labour Party under EU commissioner Frans Timmermans, which took six. PM Mark Rutte’s Liberals and the Christian Democrats took four each, the Greens three, D66 and Christian Union two each. The final two went to the Party for the Animals and 50Plus. – PC

POLAND

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) overcame a growing scandal in the Catholic Church, a traditional electoral ally, to secure a barnstorming victory over the opposition European Coalition. In a boost for its autumn re-election hopes, PiS sends the most Eurosceptics to the conservative ACRE group in the next European Parliament . Among Polish MEPs are no less than six former prime ministers. – DS

PORTUGAL

The Socialist Party (PS) of prime minister António Costa was the clear victor, ahead of the conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD). The Leftist Bloc, which governs alongside the PS, also performed well. With a general election looming in October the result is a boost to both governing parties, although a low turnout dampened celebrations somewhat. The environmentalist People, Animals and Nature party (Pan) secured its first ever EU parliamentary seat. – GH

ROMANIA

The opposition centre-right National Liberals beat the ruling Social Democrats (PSD), and the new liberal USR-Plus alliance took a strong third place. Turnout soared to 49 per cent compared to 32 per cent in 2014, as voters dealt a blow to the PSD and its coalition partners the Liberals and Democrats, who failed to win a single seat. In a simultaneous referendum, Romanians voted strongly against the government’s sweeping judicial reforms. – DMcL

SLOVAKIA

The liberal Progressive Slovakia-Together alliance, which is close to the country’s new president Zuzana Caputova, came out on top with four of Slovakia’s 13 seats. The governing, leftist-populist Smer party came second, ahead of the ultra-nationalist People’s Party-Our Slovakia, which wants the country to leave the EU and Nato. Three small centre-right parties also shared four seats between them. Turnout was 22.7 per cent, after Slovakia delivered the lowest such figure in the bloc in 2014 elections with 13 per cent. – DMcL

SLOVENIA

The conservative alliance of the Democrats and the People’s Party took victory with three seats, ahead of a pair of centre-left parties from the ruling coalition that took two seats each – the Social Democrats and the eponymous party of Slovenian prime minister Marjan Sarec. The conservatives have backed Hungarian leader Viktor Orban in his feud with the European People’s Party, and may be tempted to follow him if he quits the centre-right bloc and joins Salvini’s nationalist group. – DMcL

SPAIN

Prime minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialists (PSOE) gained ground across the board on a day of EU, regional and municipal elections. In the EU ballot, the Socialists repeated their strong result in last month’s general election, putting the conservative Popular Party (PP) into a distant second place. The Vox party confirmed its arrival in the political mainstream by winning three seats, the first time a Spanish far-right force has gained representation in the EU parliament. – GH

SWEDEN

The Greta effect didn’t carry the Green Wave to the climate activist’s homeland with the Greens taking only two seats, down from four in 2014. Reflecting the last general election, Sweden’s Social Democrats were the winners ahead of the conservative Moderates and far-right Sweden Democrats. – DS

UNITED KINGDOM

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party were the clear winners in Britain, taking a third of the vote and winning five more seats than Ukip did in 2014. The other big winners were the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Scottish National Party. The Conservatives’ collapse into single figures and fifth place is calamitous but came as no surprise. Labour’s heavy losses, mostly to pro-Remain parties, increases pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to embrace a second Brexit referendum. – DSt

Summaries by Derek Scally, Patrick Smyth, Daniel McLaughlin, Michael Jansen, Denis Staunton, Peter Cluskey and Guy Hedgecoe

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