Monday

5th Dec 2016

Far-left surge to outnumber Liberals in EU elections, suggests poll

  • Tsipras smiling? The Greek left-winger's party could be a major player in the next European Parliament (Photo: Asteris Masouras)

Europe's far-left are set to outnumber the Liberals in the next European Parliament, according to a pan-EU opinion poll published on Wednesday (5 March).

In the second of a series of fortnightly forecasts in the three months before Europe's 400 million voters go to the ballot booths from 22-25 May, Pollwatch Europe forecasts that the Parliament's leftist GUE group would see its number of MEPs swell to 67 seats and become the third largest group in the assembly.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

For their part, the Liberals would be reduced to 61 seats, well down on the 85 seats they secured five years ago.

The poll, which is based on national surveys from all 28 EU countries, is the latest indication that the Liberals will lose their status as the Parliament's 'kingmakers'.

Studies of Parliament votes since 2009 have revealed that the centrist group has been on the winning side on 85 percent of votes, more than any other party group.

Europe's establishment parties are widely expected to suffer their worst performance since direct elections were introduced for the Parliament in 1979, with the EPP also anticipated to suffer heavy losses.

The EPP, Liberal and Socialist groups would account for 63 percent of the votes, according to the poll, down from 73 percent in 2009, as record numbers of voters back populist parties on the right and left following the eurozone crisis.

Alexis Tsipras, who is the left's candidate for the presidency of the European Commission, and his Syriza party are on course to top the poll in Greece in May's elections, while strong performances are also likely for the Portuguese Left Bloc and the recently launched Italian Tsipras List.

Meanwhile, the new poll also predicts that German neo-Nazi party, the National Democrats, will be among several minor parties to win seats in the European Parliament for the first time in May.

In Karlsruhe last week, the German constitutional court scrapped the 3 percent threshold needed for parties to win parliamentary seats. The ruling is set to open the door to several other parties, including the anti-copyright Pirate party and Free Voters party, with Professor Simon Hix of the London School of Economics, and chairman of Pollwatch, estimating that around 270,000 total votes will be enough for a seat in Germany.

The anti-euro Alternative for Germany(AfD) is also expected to benefit from the court ruling.

The poll has the centre-right European People's party narrowing the gap on the rival Socialists to a near dead-heat, winning 209 and 202 of the Parliament's 751 seats respectively, on near identical vote shares of 28 percent and 27 percent respectively.

The previous Pollwatch survey two weeks ago had put the Socialists 19 seats ahead.

Analysis

Austrian far-right: beaten, but not defeated

Far-right candidate Norbert Hofer's loss to Green-backed Alexander Van der Bellen sent relief across Europe, but his party is still in a good position to head a government in the future.

News in Brief

  1. EU dismisses euro crisis risk after Italian referendum
  2. Italy result poses no risk to the EU, Sapin says
  3. EU asked to clarify links to Iran executions
  4. Italian economy minister tipped as caretaker PM
  5. EU tells US tech giants to act faster against hate speech
  6. Iceland's Pirates in bid to form government
  7. Danes are the happiest workers, study says
  8. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESICESI Congress Focuses on Future of Work, Public Services and Digitalisation
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  3. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security