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 Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs