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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More