European Parliament Elections Highlight Rise Of Nationalism

The European Parliament elections brought unexpected results as voters from 28 countries delivered the highest turnout in a European election for 20 years. 

The elections put to test the magnitude of influence of the nationalist, populist and hard-right movements that have widened their clout on the continent in recent years.

In Britain, voters favored the extremes over Conservatives, with the strongest showing for arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage. 

Farage’s newly formed Brexit party received 31.71 % of the vote which is almost equivalent to the combined vote shares of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally won with 23.31% of the votes, according to the French Ministry of Interior, beating French president Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche alliance on 22.41%.

In Italy, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s right-wing Lega Party took home 34.33% of the vote.  

Meanwhile, in Hungary, far-right nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party garnered 52.33% of the country’s votes.

Likewise in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition saw a drastic loss in support to the Greens and to a lesser extent, the far right.

“Not only is the League the first party in Italy, but Marine Le Pen is first in France, Nigel Farage is first in Great Britain. Therefore, Italy, France and England: the sign of a Europe that is changing, that is fed up,” Salvini said.

In Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he would call a snap election after his party gained disappointing results in the European and local elections. 

The opposition conservative party “New Democracy” won 33.25% of the vote, with a lead over the governing Coalition of the Radical Left “Syriza”, currently at 23.74%.

Hungary’s increasingly authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a possible ally of Italy’s Salvini, said he hopes the election will bring a shift toward political parties that want to stop migration.

According to Orban, the migration issue “will reorganize the political spectrum in the European Union.”

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