June 17, 2024
Britain after the EU Elections
The Tories and Labour now both face Brexit-related identity crises.
The Tories and Labour now both face Brexit-related identity crises.

This weekend saw the highest voter turnout in European Parliament elections since 1994 and, in Britain, tectonic shifts in party politics.

The center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the center-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) lost control of the EU’s assembly for the first time, going from 401 seats (54%) to a projected 325 seats (43%). As predicted, populists and right-wing parties did well, though their victories were more thinly spread than in 2014. In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally came first with Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique en Marche in close second. Right-wing parties also won in Poland (Law and Justice), Hungary (Civic Alliance), and Italy (Lega).

Interestingly, across the continent, green parties increased their number of European seats from 52 to 67. Greens did well in the UK, Ireland, and Finland, and surprisingly came second in Germany. Some commentators are calling this trend the “Thunberg effect,” after the 16-year-old Swedish climate-change activist Greta Thunberg, as it appears to have been fueled by a high turnout of young voters whose main priority is climate change.

The domestic fallout of the elections was especially significant in Britain, where the two main political parties — Conservative and Labour — suffered humiliating defeats and are now struggling to redefine themselves.

The European elections were a national embarrassment in the U.K., precisely because Britons voted to leave the bloc in June 2016 and were supposed to have done so by March 29, 2019. The failure to pull off a timely Brexit was most likely on the minds of many as they went grudgingly to the ballot box. It helps explain why Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, which is only six weeks old, won 31.6 percent of the vote, and why the Lib Dems, back from the political wilderness, came in second with 20.3 percent. Labour came third. The Tories came fifth.

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See Also:

(1) ‘Front of line!’ Huge trade boost as US promises deal ‘QUICKLY as possible’

(2) Macron’s EU election HUMILIATION proves French ‘don’t trust’ their president – Le Pen ally

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