Tuesday

15th Jun 2021

Irish greens take Dublin in second EU exit poll

  • The Green party won by a landslide in the Irish capital (Photo: Giuseppe Milo)

Ireland's Green party scored high in EU elections on Friday (24 May), in the second pro-European exit poll in the 2019 vote.

Irish people also voted to relax divorce laws in a referendum the same day in a closer embrace of liberal values.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The Green party was on course to win three out of Ireland's 13 MEP seats after coming from nowhere, according to an exit poll by Red C for Irish broadcaster RTE out on Friday evening.

The Green candidate, Ciaran Cuffe, won Dublin by a landslide with 23 percent of the vote, the poll, which had a margin of error of 4 percent, said.

The ruling party, the liberal-conservative Fine Gael of Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar, also did well, winning two regions, the poll added.

They shared the field with the conservative Fianna Fail party, the nationalist Sinn Fein party, and several independent candidates.

The Greens also surged from almost zero to 9 percent in a parallel vote on local councils the same day, in a sign of a deeper shift in voters' priorities.

The voting took place during a schoolchildren's climate strike in some Irish towns, as part of a wider European movement.

Irish people, likewise on Friday, voted by a whopping 87 percent to let couples divorce after two years of living apart.

The referendum marked another step toward liberalism by the formerly Roman Catholic society, which legalised same-sex marriage and abortion in the past four years.

The Irish EP outcome was also the second pro-European exit poll after Dutch socialists appeared to come out on top in The Netherlands on Thursday.

EU countries are voting over four days this weekend, with the Czech Republic, Latvia, Malta, and Slovakia due next on Saturday.

But the official results and most other exit polls are being kept under wraps until Sunday evening, when all 28 member states have finished voting.

The EP election comes amid concern that far-right parties might climb to new heights of power.

Ireland does not have far-right or eurosceptic parties like the Forum for Democracy in the Netherlands or The Brexit Party in the UK, which also voted on Thursday.

But the Greens' Irish triumph could be a sign of shifting ground in European politics.

Voters in France and Germany also told a recent poll that climate change was a bigger worry for them than migration - the main subject of the far-right National Rally and AfD parties there.

Meanwhile, the Irish elections took place in the shadow of Brexit.

The British prime minister, Theresa May, resigned in tears on Friday morning, increasing the risk of a no-deal British EU departure in October.

A disorderly exit could reimpose a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, stirring up sectarian tension, but the Irish EP vote saw little extremist rhetoric.

The low turnout in Ireland was less promising, however.

Just 31 percent of people took part in Dublin, and figures fell as low as 14 percent in some regions, compared to 52 percent overall in 2014.

Low turnouts tend to favour radical candidates, as Slovakia, which had the lowest level of participation - just 13 percent - the last time round, prepares to vote on Saturday.

Ireland stuck between no-deal Brexit plans and peace deal

As the possibility of no-deal Brexit rises, Dublin will be tasked to police the EU's new frontier. But leaders there insist there are no preparations for a hard border - because it also needs to protect the 1998 peace deal.

Dutch socialists on top in first EP election exit poll

Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans looks like the big winner in the first exit poll from the 2019 European Parliament election. British voters also cast their ballots amid predictions their prime minister is about to fall.

EUobserved

Jubilant Greens in party mood after first EP projection

A party like atmosphere has seized the Greens as a packed room of people discuss around food and drinks. Elsewhere, the centre-right EPP appear sombre, as they huddle around their computers behind closed doors.

News in Brief

  1. BBC and others boycott Belarus press circus
  2. Report: EU and US to unveil aircraft subsidy truce
  3. Putin refuses to guarantee Navalny will survive jail
  4. Erdoğan agrees to pull out mercenaries from Libya
  5. EU starts sale of first bonds for Covid-19 recovery fund
  6. Germans told not to 'storm pharmacies' for Covid pass
  7. Indonesia warns Covid-19 wave may not peak until July
  8. WTO chief: 'drop trade barriers on Covid-19 treatments'

Post-Brexit talks in last push until Sunday

The probability of no deal has increased as a last-ditch effort by British prime minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen did not bridge gaps.

Opinion

What a No Deal Brexit is going to look like

Research by the London School of Economics forecasts that a no-deal Brexit could be three times as bad as the pandemic for the UK economy, writes mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the president of the Committee of the Regions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. China officially joins Russia as a danger to Nato
  2. German Greens face reality check amid CDU gains
  3. EU Parliament wants Europe to take lead on sea-rescues
  4. MEPs urged to end gas-funding, fix cross-border projects rules
  5. Biden in Brussels - what's in the 'in-tray'?
  6. Yemen foreign minister to EU: to stop the war, talk to Iran
  7. Brexit grumbles overshadow UK summit
  8. Former French PM to work for Russian oil firm

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us