The anti-EU vote should produce about 140 seats in all, giving them enough power in the new assembly to live up to promises to weaken the EU from the inside
Brussels : France’s far-right National Front and Britain’s UKIP led a eurosceptic “earthquake” in EU parliamentary polls, sending shockwaves across Europe and beyond. The EU Parliament’s own projections on Monday showed the extent of the anti-EU breakthrough, with eurosceptic parties set to win around 140 seats in the 751-seat assembly.
The most emphatic results from the four days of polling across the 28-nation bloc, which ended on Sunday, came on both sides of the British Channel. In France the far-right National Front (FN) won just over 25 per cent of the vote, according to official figures, securing 24 of France’s 74 seats on the EU parliament, with nearly all results in.
The anti-EU mood also swept Britain where the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) looked set to score a historic election victory. UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed “the most extraordinary result in British politics for 100 years” as his party secured over 27 percent of the vote with results from 10 of the 12 British regions declared.
“We have hit very hard,” he added, talking of a political “earthquake”. The anti-EU Danish People’s Party was also victorious, while far right groups had strong showings in Hungary and Greece.
In Austria the right-wing Freedom Party also made big gains, coming in third with almost 20 percent of the vote. Projections for the European Parliament as a whole showed the centre-right umbrella group, the European People’s Party, holding on to its top spot with 212 seats, though it looks to have lost 63 in the process.
The Socialists were second with 187 seats, down from 196. The ALDE Liberals group would be third with 72 seats, ahead of the Greens at 55 and the left GUE/NGL with 43.
If confirmed, the FN victory in France would be the highest ever national vote garnered by the anti-immigration, anti-EU party led by Marine Le Pen who has promised to shake up the country and the EU.
A dismayed French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he could not understand the “massive abstention” of Socialist voters that left his party a distant third with just 14 per cent of the vote to a rampant National Front, which topped Sunday’s poll with 25%. In response, pro-European Union parties must offer disillusioned voters the real prospect of jobs and growth, Valls said, refusing to step down after just weeks in office. “I am convinced that Europe can be reoriented to increase support for growth and employment, which it hasn’t done in years,” Valls said.