The four-day elections to the European Parliament (EP) were finished in 28 EU member states. They can be called truly historic for the European Union, since the voter turnout, for the first time since 1999, exceeded 50% and made about 51%. For instance, its minimum, 42.61%, was registered in 2014. Experts associate this with active politicization of the European society in 2019 triggered by the rising protest sentiments in various countries, in particular France, where the yellow vests’ actions still continue.
At the moment, the official election results have not yet been announced, but valid conclusions can already be drawn from exit poll results published by the EP. According to this information, the EU-largest political association, the Christian democratic European People’s Party (EPP) will retain its leadership in the EP, despite the loss of 43 mandates. The EPP will receive 173 out of 751 mandates.
The same trend is observed for the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) with 147 mandates, which has lost 33, but keeps the second leading position in the number of mandates.
The third place will be taken by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) with 102 mandates. According to upfront information, it received an additional 34 mandates during the elections, which makes an excellent result for ALDE. This success is achieved from the Macron’s Republic on the Move (LaREM) party that joined ALDE.
Particular attention should be paid to the fact that in many EU countries the Eurosceptic parties show a persistent rise in popularity. Thus, the European Alliance for People and Nations (EAPN), whose members are mostly drawn from the National Rally (RN, the National Front until June 2018), as well as the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD ) party, can expect 113 mandates in total, while in the 2014 elections, they received 90 mandates.
Experts say that the Eurosceptics can gain even more strength in the future if united with the nationalists, by forming a more representative coalition. However, there are three mainstream pro-EU parties ready to stand against them: S&D, EPP and ALDE, if only they are able to step over their numerous policy disagreements.
The most exciting are the results of competition between the Marine Le Pen’s ultra-right RN party that gained 23.3% and the Renaissance list that includes LaREM and the Democratic Movement (Mouvement Démocrate), which received 22.4 %. Despite all the efforts of the President of France, who presented himself as the EU savior in opposing the destroyers-nationalists, he lost the battle for trust of his citizens rather than the election to the European Parliament. In one of his speeches, he said that his opponents in the person of Le Pen would use the vote as an ostensible reason to express no-confidence against the President and the Government. That is exactly what happened. The economic failures of the past few years, the Yellow Vests protests and the lack of a positive agenda allowed the Eurosceptics to recoup their defeat in the presidential election. In the near future, Marine Le Pen will demand Macron’s resignation, which is yet unlikely to happen, but the public discontent with the President’s policy will continue to rise.
A similar trend affected the UK. The two leading British parties – the Laborists and the Conservatives – have lost many votes, as compared with previous elections. The ruling Conservative Party ranked 5th and will receive less than 10% of the vote, as forecasted. In fact, the UK residents repeated the recent voting result of the local government election, where the Whigs and Tories also failed. Thus, the largest number of seats allocated to the UK (28 out of 64) will get the new populist Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage