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Far-right gains in EU elections rattle France, Germany - HellaZ.EU.News

Far-right gains in EU elections rattle France, Germany

1 week ago 120

Far-right parties have made major gains in European Union parliamentary elections, dealing stunning defeats to two of the bloc’s most important leaders: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In France, the National Rally party of Marine Le Pen dominated the polls to such an extent that Macron immediately dissolved the national parliament and called for new elections. It was a massive political risk since his party could suffer more losses, hobbling the rest of his presidential term that ends in 2027.

Le Pen was delighted to accept the challenge. “We’re ready to turn the country around, ready to defend the interests of the French, ready to put an end to mass immigration,” she said, echoing the rallying cry of far-right leaders in other countries who were celebrating substantial wins.

Macron acknowledged the thud of defeat. “I’ve heard your message, your concerns, and I won’t leave them unanswered,” he said.

In Germany, the most populous nation in the 27-member bloc, Scholz suffered such an ignominious fate that his long-established Social Democratic party fell behind the extreme-right AfD, which surged into second place.

Projections indicated that the AfD (Alternative for Germany)  overcame a string of scandals involving its top candidate to rise to 16.5 per cent, up from 11 per cent in 2019.

“After all the prophecies of doom, after the barrage of the last few weeks, we are the second strongest force,” a jubilant AfD leader Alice Weidel said.

The centre-right Christian Democratic bloc of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen dominated  with almost 30 per cent.

The four-day polls in the 27 EU countries were the world’s second-biggest exercise in democracy, behind India’s recent election. At the end, the rise of the far right was even more stunning than many analysts predicted.

Overall across the EU, two mainstream and pro-European groups, the Christian Democrats and the Socialists, remained the dominant forces. The gains of the far right came at the expense of the Greens, who were expected to lose about 20 seats and fall back to sixth position in the legislature.

Bucking the trend was former EU leader and current Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who overcame Law and Justice, the national conservative party that governed Poland from 2015-23 and drove it ever further to the right. A poll showed Tusk’s party won with 38 per cent, compared to 34 per cent for his bitter nemesis.

The hard right, which focused its campaign on migration and crime, was expected to make significant gains in Italy, where Premier Giorgia Meloni was tipped to consolidate her power.

Many of the 27 member states have not yet released any projections.

Nonetheless, data already published confirmed earlier predictions: the elections will shift the bloc to the right and redirect its future.

EU lawmakers, who serve a five-year term in the 720-seat Parliament, have a say in issues from financial rules to climate and agriculture policy. They approve the EU budget, which bankrolls priorities including infrastructure projects, farm subsidies and aid delivered to Ukraine. And they hold a veto over appointments to the powerful EU commission.

Since the last EU election in 2019, populist or far-right parties now lead governments in three nations — Hungary, Slovakia and Italy — and are part of ruling coalitions in others including Sweden, Finland and, soon, the Netherlands. Polls give the populists an advantage in France, Belgium, Austria and Italy.
Source: AAP

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