Thursday

18th Apr 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

Liberals unveil new Monti-backed Italian coalition

The EU's Liberals have unveiled a new Mario Monti-backed Italian centrist coalition, as the party attempts to fight back against dismal poll ratings that threaten to make it one of the biggest losers in May's European elections.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us