Populist parties make limited gains in European Parliament elections

Populist parties make limited gains in European Parliament elections

Bloc-wide elections for the European Parliament will conclude today. With 400 million people across 28 countries eligible to vote, the

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Photo: Reuters

Bloc-wide elections for the European Parliament will conclude today.

With 400 million people across 28 countries eligible to vote, the election will be a major test of the rising support seen across the continent for nationalist and populist parties.

The vote pits pro-EU candidates, who argue for greater consistency within the bloc on crucial policy issues, like migration and data-sharing, against Eurosceptics, who claim the EU has too much centralised power and that the sovereignty of member states is under siege.

Indeed, populist factions are expected to make gains. The centre-right European People’s Party and the centre-left Socialists and Democrats are likely to lose their combined majority as voters, enticed by anti-immigrant sentiment, are drawn to populist parties.

Though right-wing groups will gain a substantial presence in Parliament, they will not have enough seats to dominate it. Instead, expect a more right-leaning Parliament that entertains legislation to weaken the EU’s central authority. In the medium to long-term, this could mean greater policy and business deregulation efforts, particularly on issues like immigration.

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