Thursday

23rd Mar 2017

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.

Focus

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.

Focus

EU top candidates to slug it out in TV debate

Candidates to be the next EU commission president will have a head-to-head televised debate in May. But details of the format are proving to be a challenge.

News in Brief

  1. Man arrested in Antwerp after trying to mow people down
  2. Marine Le Pen goes to Russia
  3. Dutch post-election talks prioritise green-right coalition
  4. EU summons Turkish envoy over threats to Europeans
  5. British police make first arrests in London terror probe
  6. EU commission has received Facebook reply on WhatsApp
  7. Rome expects thousands of protesters at summit
  8. Dijsselbloem says his comments had 'Dutch directness'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EJCExpresses Concern That Extremists Still Have the Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  3. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  4. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  5. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  7. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  8. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  9. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change
  11. Malta EU 2017Consumer Protection Laws to Be Strengthened by EU-Wide Cooperation
  12. European Free AllianceSupporting Artur Mas: Democracy and Freedom Cannot Be Convicted

Latest News

  1. May: London attacker was known to the police
  2. Ending the migrant deal with Turkey may save the EU
  3. Poland unlikely to face EU discipline on rule of law
  4. Rutte courted Wilders' voters, now he must deliver
  5. Barnier to UK: trade talks will come after settling accounts
  6. EU declaration to voice unity in troubled times
  7. Terror attack shuts down UK parliament
  8. Catalonia and Scotland at core of Europe's geopolitical conundrum