Battered EU centre holds off populist surge in vote

Battered EU centre holds off populist surge in vote

The centre-right European People's Party (EPP) has won the most seats in the European Parliament, but eurosceptic parties have made strong gains, officials have said. Despite making gains, the vote was hardly the watershed anticipated by Europe's far-right populists, who have vowed to dilute the European Union from within in favor of national sovereignty.

Romania has 32 seats in the European parliament and the preliminary results show that 14 seats will be occupied by PPE member parties (PNL 10, PMP - 2, UDMR - 2), 10 seats by S&D affiliates (PSD - 8, ProRomania - 2) and 8 by Liberals (2020 USR-Plus Alliance).

Voters line up at a polling station for the European Parliament elections in Dresden, Germany, on Sunday. "We have lost seats and this means that we have to be humble".

Orban, who with 52 per cent of the Hungarian vote won 13 seats in the European Union parliament, is seen as the most likely to quit the EPP, from which his party has already been suspended over concerns on rule of law in Hungary.

Results released on Monday morning by the Ministry of the Interior, which have yet to be formally verified and declared by the National Voting Commission, showed that the far right Rassemblement National (RN) party topped the polls with 23.3 percent of the vote, beating French president Emmanuel Macron's La Republique En Marche.

Exit polls indicated the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel also suffered major losses.

This result shows that if the election had been indeed a second referendum, British voters would have chosen to remain in the European Union, no matter the low turnout of 37%.

Ever since direct elections to the chamber started back in 1979, when 62 percent of the eligible population went to the ballots, the number has shrunk at every vote.

Nigel Farage reacts as results are announced at the counting centre for the European Elections for the South East England region, in Southampton. Both supporters of closer European unity and those who consider the EU a meddlesome and bureaucratic presence portrayed the vote as crucial for the future of the bloc.

Mainstream center-right and center-left parties were widely expected to hold on to power in the 751-seat legislature that sits in both Brussels and Strasbourg.

The green party lead by Yannick Jadot was placed third with 13.4 percent of the vote, gaining 12 seats now and 13 after Brexit. And on economic policies, eurosceptics have widely differing views, with Salvini's calls for more flexibility on fiscal rules being met with coldness by his Austrian allies of the far-right FPO.

It's game on for the four leading parties coming out of the European Parliament elections, as chances are very slim that any three-party coalition could constitute a stable, or at least comfortable, majority.

"Not only is the League the first party in Italy, but also Marine Le Pen is the first party in France, Nigel Farage is the first party in the UK", Salvini said. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's Socialists on Sunday won their second set of elections in a row, boosting their ambition to secure a top Brussels job.

Macron had made no secret of the significance he attached to the results and his party's performance was a symbolic blow for the president two years into his five year mandate.

Voting on Sunday also takes place on Sunday in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Europe has been roiled in the past few years by immigration from the Mideast and Africa and deadly attacks by Islamic extremists.

Provisional results for the EU Parliament put the EPP on 182 seats, ahead of the S&D on 147, with the liberals on 109, up 41 seats, and Greens on 69, up 17. On the far-right flank, the Europe of Nations and Freedom group was predicted to increase its bloc from 37 to 62 seats. Critics believed the president invested too much energy in what was an essentially meaningless election in French national terms - however symbolic.

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