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European Parliament Elections Signal Rightward Shift…

Brussels: The recent European Parliament elections indicate a notable shift towards the right. Far-right parties, nationalists, and centre-right factions have made significant gains, suggesting that these results will have substantial global implications.

Centre-Right Gains Across Major EU Countries

Centre-right parties emerged victorious in key EU nations such as Germany, Greece, Poland, and Spain and made notable advances in Hungary, Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands.

Setback for Germany’s Tripartite Coalition

Germany’s tripartite coalition government, comprising the Social Democrats, Greens, and Liberals, suffered a significant electoral defeat. Despite the setback, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has stated that he will not call for an early general election. The coalition has faced considerable strain due to the financial and energy crises exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with increasing immigration pressures on local resources. The far-right Alternative for Germany capitalised on these issues with a campaign focused on negotiating with Putin and resuming purchases of Russian gas, achieving notable success.

Italian Elections: Brothers of Italy Lead

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her party, the Brothers of Italy, have solidified their political influence, securing more votes than they did in the 2022 general election, reaching 29%. The opposition centre-left Democratic Party (PD) also saw better-than-expected results, winning 24% of the vote—their highest since 2014. However, the League and two centrist parties led by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi failed to secure MEP positions.

Nexit Party Makes Waves in the Netherlands

Geert Wilders’ party, which advocates for a Dutch exit from the EU (Nexit), achieved a surprise victory in the national elections held last November, a success mirrored in the recent European Parliament elections. The party, aligned with the anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV), made significant strides, though they only managed to secure MEP positions.

Hungary’s Political Revolution

In Hungary, the newly formed centre-right party Tisza, led by lawyer Peter Magyar, garnered 30% of the vote, securing seven MEPs. Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party received 44% of the vote, translating into 11 MEPs. Both parties are part of the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament.

Far-Right Victory in Austria

Austria saw a decisive win for the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) in the European elections. Leader Herbert Kickl heralded the victory as the start of a ‘new era in politics’. With parliamentary elections approaching in the fall, the Freedom Party is optimistic about further success. Despite criticism of their anti-immigration stance and support for Putin, the FPO secured 25.7% of the vote, followed by the Conservative People’s Party at 24.7%, the Social Democrats at 23.3%, the Greens at 10.9%, and the Liberal Neos at 10.1%.

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