News / Europe

Surprising Gains for Far Right, Far Left in European Parliamentary Elections

Marine Le Pen, France's National Front political party head, reacts to results after the polls closed in the European Parliament elections at the party's headquarters in Nanterre, near Paris, May 25, 2014.
Marine Le Pen, France's National Front political party head, reacts to results after the polls closed in the European Parliament elections at the party's headquarters in Nanterre, near Paris, May 25, 2014.
VOA News
Exit polls across the European Union show surprisingly strong wins for so-called Eurosceptics on the far right and far left in European Parliament elections.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called Sunday's results "an earthquake" for Europe and France, where Marine Le Pen's far right National Front party was the outright winner. National Front will have seats in the parliament for the first time.

Nationalist parties are also expected to win in Denmark and Britain.

In Greece, the radical leftist coalition is poised to win. Greek leftists strongly oppose the government's economic austerity and the terms of the EU bailout for Greece.

The far right parties are known for opposing immigration and generally want to slash the powers of the European Union.

Official results of the European Parliament elections are expected Monday.

Voters in 21 of the European Union's 28 nations voted Sunday. The other seven countries had already voted.

“The people have spoken loud and clear,” a triumphant Le Pen told cheering supporters at party headquarters in a northwest suburb of Paris.
“They no longer want to be led by those outside our borders, by EU commissioners and technocrats who are unelected. They want to be protected from globalization and take back the reins of their destiny,” she said.
TV exit polls all gave the FN around 25 percent of the vote, a few points higher than expected in pre-vote surveys.
The mainstream UMP conservative opposition was put on 21 percent. Hollande's Socialists stood at between 14 and 14.5 percent - well down from the 16.5 percent they won last time in 2009 and close to a record low score achieved in 1994.
The FN, which Le Pen has sought to rid of its racist reputation since she took the reins from her father in 2011, campaigned on a platform of tighter borders, hostility to the euro currency and rejection of a planned EU-US trade pact.
Searching for allies
As expected in the event of an FN victory, Le Pen called for the dissolution of France's national assembly, insisting it was no longer representative of the French people's will. The FN holds only two of 577 seats in the national parliament.
Ruling Socialists quickly dismissed such a move which, given Hollande's record unpopularity, would almost certainly mean that his allies would lose their current majority in parliament.
If confirmed by preliminary official results due later on Sunday, the score would also be a slap for the conservative UMP, whose chairman Jean-Francois Cope is expected to face challenges for the leadership of the party.
“It's a big disappointment for us, but mostly an expression of anger from the French people,” Cope said.
Survey group Ifop said the abstention rate was 59 percent slightly lower than the record high many pollsters had expected.
The FN has carved out a niche for itself in French politics, largely among disaffected working class voters who believe the mainstream elite does not understand their concerns about crime, immigration and joblessness.
In March it won control of a record 11 town halls across France - a tiny minority of France's thousands of municipalities but still a slap in the face for the mainstream left and right which have always ruled France.
Le Pen told Reuters in the run-up to the vote that a major priority for the FN and other Eurosceptic parties across Europe would be to form a political caucus in the European Parliament and aim to block a planned transatlantic trade pact.
Pollster Ifop estimated the FN would secure between 22 and 25 seats in the EU assembly.

Information for this report was contributed by Reuters.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Beancube from: WA
May 26, 2014 3:57 PM
Bankers will fight each others as well. Voters should learn how bankers work by demanding transparency.

by: Goldingen from: Greece
May 26, 2014 11:09 AM
The Greek far-right party Golden Dawn known for its hostile attitudes to the emigrants from Asia won the third place in these elections.Permit me to mention that in early 90s other Greek parties and State institutions had not been more courteous towards the Greeks from the USSR returning to their ethnic homeland.

by: moniq from: France
May 26, 2014 12:11 AM
this is it guys... - Arabs, get out of France..!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs