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European Parliament elections: Right wing parties gain ground across Europe, French president Macron dissolves parliament after results

As Right-wing parties typically advocate for more stringent immigration controls, which can address public concerns about security and social cohesion, they could formulate more managed and sustainable immigration policies.

In a major breach in the left-wing stronghold, the right-wing parties have won a decisive victory in the European Parliament elections. The voting on the 720 MEP bloc resulted in a crushing defeat for French President Emanuel Macron who consequently called for fresh legislative elections. The election results came as a shocker for left-liberal parties in Belgium and Germany as well. Meanwhile, Italy’s Georgia Meloni has emerged as the “kingmaker” in Europe.

French President Emmanuel Macron suffers humiliating defeat

The 2024 European Parliament elections have seen a significant shift in the political landscape, with French right-wing parties gaining substantial ground.

President Emmanuel Macron dissolved France’s lower chamber of parliament, sending voters back to the elections in the coming days to elect MPs following his party’s humiliating defeat by the right-wing party in the European elections on the 9th of June. The legislative elections will be held in two rounds—30th June and 7th July.

The declaration came as the provisional results from France showed the far-right National Rally party far ahead in the European Union’s parliamentary elections, giving Macron’s pro-European centrists an embarrassing disappointment.

“I’ve decided to give you back the choice of our parliamentary future through the vote. I am therefore dissolving the National Assembly. This decision is serious, heavy. But it is, above all, an act of trust. Trust in you, my dear compatriots. In the capacity of the French people to make the most just decision,” Macron said in his address to the nation on Sunday.

According to the provisional results, Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration, nationalist party National Rally (Rassemblement National) is getting around 31.50% of the votes while Macron’s Renaissance party and its coalition Besoin d’Europe has received just 14.50% of the votes. It is notable that France has 81 seats in the European Union Parliament.

Notably, in recent years the right-wing political parties dubbed as the “far-right” have gained ground in France due to multiple factors including economic discontent, concerns over immigration and national identity.

Prolonged economic stagnation, high unemployment rates, and growing income inequality have fueled public discontent. Many voters feel left behind by traditional parties, turning to right-wing alternatives promising economic revival and protectionism. The rising cost of living, exacerbated by inflation and energy prices, has also driven voters towards parties that promise to prioritize national economic interests and reduce the perceived economic burden imposed by the EU.

Germany goes the “right” way in EU parliament elections

In Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) finished second, highlighting the party’s popularity ahead of the forthcoming federal elections. The Eurosceptic party was expected to receive 15.60% of the vote, its greatest performance to date and more than all three parties in Scholz’s coalition combined.

Interestingly, the conservative alliance of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union, in opposition at the federal level, dominated the election with almost 30% of the vote. European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) have won 30 seats, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats won 14 seats. Meanwhile, Renew Europe got 8 seats and the Left had to be content with just 4 seats.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Greens suffered a crushing defeat getting 16 seats as voters punished them for the high expense of CO2 emission-reduction policies.

In Poland, the right-wing party Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS) gained big getting 35.70% votes, with Polish PM Tusk’s Civic Coalition (KO) maintaining the lead with 37% votes. Similarly, in Spain, the centre-right People’s Party, which is a member of the EPP, triumphed over Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.


Belgium goes the “right” way in EU Parliament elections

The Flemish nationalist parties dominated general elections in Belgium on Sunday, but Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s liberal party suffered a setback. In spite of polls predicting that the far-right, anti-immigrant Vlaams Belang party would become the leading political party in the country of 11.5 million people, the right-wing nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) retained first place, with an expected 22% of the vote, according to preliminary results provided by the Interior Ministry. The Vlaams Belang emerged in second place, with a share of 17.5%, ahead of the Socialist Voruit party, which received approximately 10.5% of the vote.

Alexander De Croo, the prime minister of Belgium, has resigned following his party’s crushing loss in Sunday’s national and European parliamentary elections. The 48-year-old found it difficult to hold back tears while making the announcement in Brussels on Sunday night.
“I was the figurehead of this campaign. This is not the result I had hoped for, and I therefore take responsibility for this result, it was not meant to be. As of tomorrow, I will be resigning as prime minister and I will fully concentrate on current affairs,” an emotional de Croo told the media.

Giorgia Meloni’s party in Italy emerges as the “kingmaker”

Giorgia Meloni’s right wing Fratelli d’Italia, or Brothers of Italy, emerged victorious in Italy with more than 28% of the vote. The triumph would provide Meloni a boost domestically while also establishing her as one of the most powerful leaders in the EU.  Meanwhile, the centre-left opposition PD received 23% of the vote, followed by the populist Five Star Movement, which received 10%, a seven-point drop from the 2019 election. Reports say that MEPs of Meloni’s party might also be decisive if she decides to support centre-right European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a second term, thus giving Rome clout over the coming EU executive.

Structure of the European Parliament

In the EU Parliament, MEPs are organized into political groups rather than by nationality. The major political groups include the European People’s Party (EPP), the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), Renew Europe (RE), and the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA). There are also smaller groups and non-attached members who do not belong to any group. In the last European Parliament elections there were 705 seats, however, this time 15 additional seats have been divided among 12 countries. Notably, seats in the EU Parliament are distributed among the member states based on their population, with larger states having more MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) than smaller ones. Germany holds the highest number of seats at 96, followed by France has 81, Italy at 76, and Spain at 61. Smaller countries like Malta and Luxembourg have 6 seats each.

Major issues in the 2024 European Parliament elections

Several issues shaped the EU Parliament election including post-pandemic economic recovery, with the EU’s ambitious Green Deal, climate policies and sustainability remaining central to the election campaigns. Immigration remained a dominant issue, with debates over asylum policies, border security, and the integration of migrants. Besides, the future of EU integration, including potential expansions and the balance of power between the EU and member states, eurosceptism, and unemployment were also central to the poll debates and discussion.

Significance of the rise of the Right Wing in the EU

Right-wing parties often advocate for stronger national sovereignty. This can lead to policies that better reflect the specific needs of individual member states. Moreover, emphasising national identity can help preserve the unique cultural heritage and traditions of member states, fostering a sense of pride and unity among citizens.

A significant shift in economic policies could also be anticipated. Right-wing parties may implement protectionist economic policies that safeguard local industries and jobs from international competition, potentially leading to more robust national economies. A focus on reducing EU bureaucracy could lead to more streamlined regulations, making it easier for businesses to operate and grow.

As Right-wing parties typically advocate for more stringent immigration controls, which can address public concerns about security and social cohesion, they could formulate more managed and sustainable immigration policies. In addition, the rise of eurosceptic right-wing parties could drive necessary reforms within the EU, making its institutions more transparent, accountable, and responsive to the needs of its citizens.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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