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European elections: Rise of the sovereignists

As was expected from the polls before the European elections, eurosceptics and sovereignists are on the rise. The support for the ENF (Europe of Nations and Freedom) has doubled in size by winning domestically across the EU.

Published: May 27, 2019, 10:06 am

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    Although the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group did not win a majority in EU parliament, it’s no longer the smallest group, having gained at least 74 seats instead of its previous 37.

    Flemish Member of the ENF group Vlaams Belang, celebrated its huge success in several areas of Belgium during regional, federal and EU Parliamentary elections, which were all held on 26 May.

    The chairman of Vlaams Belang, Tom van Grieken told Sputnik News that the secret of the party’s success was: “Put your own people first. That’s what a mother does for her children, and that’s the same thing that politicians should do with their people.”

    With an increase of more than 10 percentage points, Vlaams Belang becomes the second Flemish party, both in the Flemish Parliament and in the Chamber. As the big winner of the elections, the party is calling for the cordon sanitaire to be broken, in order to co-operate with other parties.

    “Double digits” is the goal that Van Grieken had set for his party. Already after the first results in Diksmuide and Heist-op-den-Berg, among others, it became clear that the party would be very well.

    With more than 18 percent of the vote, it is now the second largest party in Flanders. At the constituency level, the party has reached the 20 percent mark in West Flanders, East Flanders and Limburg for the Flemish Parliament. At the European level, the party now has 3 seats, two more than in the last five years.

    Some 403 million eligible EU voters across Europe showed a preference for traditionalist parties. The National Rally (RN) in France won with a score of 23.31 percent ahead of the list of the presidential majority.

    President Macron’s LREM came second with around 22.41 percent. The left, it appears have become more fragmented than ever, results with 99.9 percent of the votes counted, show.

    Also, voter participation rate was notably higher than expected. European voters voted overwhelmingly with 51 percent across the 27 EU countries, according to figures released by the Parliament.

    In France, the Europe-Ecology list became the third force in the country, gathering 13.47 percent of votes against 8.9 percent in 2014, ahead of the classic conservative Republicans (around 8 percent). They will now occupy 13 seats in the European Parliament.

    Spain will be dispatching MEPs to Strasbourg too. As expected, the Socialists of Prime Minsiter Pedro Sanchez won a large victory with nearly 33 percent of the votes, well ahead of the conservatives of the Popular Party (PP).

    Unlike other major EU countries – such as France or Italy boasting leaders Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini – Spanish citizens “are not divided on integration,” Jose Ignacio Torreblanca of the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank told the media.

    In the Netherlands, according to estimates, Dutch voters have shown their attachment to the EU by putting Labour at the forefront, and not the populists of the Forum for Democracy, as the polls predicted.

    In Denmark, the Danish People’s Party, could only win 11 percent of the vote. And in Hungary, the Fidesz alliance with the Christian Democrats won the European Parliament election with 52.14 percent amid a higher-than-projected turnout in Sunday’s vote.

    Italy, where voters cast their ballots on the last day of the EU Parliamentary elections, had banned all election-related opinion polls, and only when the first exit poll numbers finally started emerging around midnight on 27 May, it became apparent that Salvini’s Lega party had trounced the competition.

    Matteo Bianchi, Lega’s MP in Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, told Sputnik News, that Italian voters wanted a tough stance on illegal migration and support of traditional values. “Lega wants to change policy – especially on migration, and to keep the values of Europe, especially Christian values, and to put the family policies first”.

    Prime Minister Viktor Orban, reflecting on his Fidesz party’s victory, said Hungarians had entrusted the ruling alliance with three objectives: to stop immigration across Europe, to protect a Europe of nations and to protect Christian culture in Europe.

    Orban said that it was now clear that Hungarians think that change is needed in Brussels. He added that with the high turnout Hungary had proven that “it is a European nation, a European country, that our place is in Europe, that Europe is our home, too, and so we want to change it”.

    The 2019 EU Parliamentary elections were held in 28 member states over four days — from 23 May to 26 May, and a total of 751 members of the Parliament were elected.

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