Far-right making gains in European Parliament

European far right and pro-environment Greens projected to gain ground in the elections for the European Parliament.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen

The European far right and the pro-environment Greens are projected to gain ground in the elections for the European Parliament at the expense of the continent's longtime political center, The Associated Press reported Sunday.

Turnout was estimated at a two-decade high over the four days of balloting across the 28 European Union countries.

While pro-EU parties still were expected to win about two-thirds of the 751-member legislature that sits in Brussels and Strasbourg, other contenders appeared headed for significant gains, according to projections released by Parliament.

Exit polls in France indicated that Marine Le Pen's far-right, anti-immigrant National Rally party came out on top.

Le Pen said the expected result "confirms the new nationalist-globalist division" in France and beyond.

Exit polls in Germany, the EU's biggest country, likewise indicated the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and its center-left coalition partner also suffered losses, while the Greens were set for big gains and the far right was expected to pick up slightly more support.

Turnout across the bloc - not counting Britain - was put at a preliminary 51%, a 20-year high, according to AP. An estimated 426 million people were eligible to vote.

Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, a major figure among the anti-migrant hard-line nationalists, said that he felt a "change in the air" and that a victory by his right-wing League party would "change everything in Europe."

The results could leave Parliament's two main parties, the European People's Party and the Socialists & Democrats, without a majority.

Early projections Sunday suggested the Greens would secure 71 seats, up from 52 in the last election, five years ago. The Greens appeared to have done well not just in Germany but in France and Ireland.

The EU and its Parliament set trade policy on the continent, regulate agriculture, oversee antitrust enforcement and set monetary policy for 19 of the 28 nations sharing the euro currency.

Other countries voting on Sunday included Italy, Poland, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Belgium and Lithuania. Britain voted Thursday, taking part in the balloting despite the fact that it is planning to leave the EU. Its EU lawmakers will lose their jobs as soon as Brexit happens.