Sunday

29th May 2016

Centre-right to win EU vote, by hair's breadth

  • The centre-right and centre-left groups are likely to have to work together more closely to adopt legislation (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Europe's centre-right will secure a narrow 16-seat victory in this week's European elections, according to the final pan-EU opinion poll by PollWatch.

Based on Tuesday's poll (20 May) the European People's Party (EPP) will win 217 seats, while the Socialists are tipped to have 201 MEPs in the 751-seat Parliament.

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.

  • Heading for a shake-up? A far-right rise could lead to 'grand coalition' politics in Brussels. (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

But neither Jean Claude Juncker, the EPP candidate for the European Commission presidency, nor his Socialist counterpart Martin Schulz will be able to secure a majority in Parliament without a German-style grand coalition.

The rise of the far-right is set to be the main story when the votes are counted on Sunday (25 May). Ukip is set to top the poll in the UK, while Marine Le Pen's National Front is forecast to win in France.

Meanwhile, Alexis Tsipras, who is the left's candidate for the presidency of the European Commission, and his Syriza party, are tipped to win in Greece, the country hardest hit by the eurozone crisis.

Between them the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group, currently dominated by Ukip, and the MEPs who are not part of a political group, will total 135 deputies, effectively making them the third largest political force in the Parliament.

Le Pen is fronting a campaign to set up a pan-EU nationalist group known as the European Alliance for Freedom in the next Parliament.

Geert Wilders' Dutch Freedom party, the Austrian Freedom party, and Flemish separatists Vlaams Belang are amongst parties to have indicated that they will sit in Le Pen's new group.

This could signal a radical shake up in the working of the next parliament. For the first time, a far-right group could claim chairmanship of a parliament committee – highly influential when it comes to law-making.

In a blog accompanying the poll, Pollwatch's Simon Hix commented that "the main trend overall will be a dramatic polarisation of the Parliament" with the centre-right and centre-left groups likely to have to work together more closely to adopt legislation.

The rise of eurosceptic parties, coupled with the collapse in support for the Liberal group, which has been a kingmaker in the previous two legislatures, but is predicted to fall from 83 seats to 59, makes it increasingly unlikely that any of the five candidates for the European Commission presidency will be able to declare victory without a grand coalition bargain.

Observers should "expect a 'grand coalition' on most big issues, starting with the choice of the Commission President," says Hix, describing EPP "Spitzenkandidat" Juncker as being in "poll position" heading into the election.

Europe's 400 million voters go to the ballot booths from 22-25 May in the first pan-European elections since the eurozone debt crisis which threatened to rip the single currency apart and prompted a wave of budgetary austerity that has driven up unemployment to record levels.

PollWatch, which is headed by London School of Economics professor Simon Hix and backed by the Brussels lobby firm Bursten-Marsteller, makes election simulations based on data from national surveys from all 28 EU countries.

Column / UK referendum briefing

Cynical campaigns harm public trust

With a month to go before the vote, the Leave and Remain campaigns have made claims that would make the average pub bore blush.

Spanish election goes Venezuelan

The crisis in Venezuela has become central to the June election campaign, with radical-left Podemos being accused of being too close to the Chavist government.

News in Brief

  1. Syrian refugees sue Denmark over immigration law
  2. Ukraine bans Gorbachev for backing Crimea's seizure
  3. Dozens dead in two shipwrecks outside Libya
  4. Slovak PM says his country is no place for Muslims
  5. Juncker's spin-doctor warns of populist 'horror'
  6. EU urges Hungary to end discrimination of Roma children
  7. Majority of voters think UK will stay in EU
  8. Leading MEP says Greek bailout will not work

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCAEducation and Training 2020 - Giving Young People the Workplace Skills They Need
  2. EPSUTrade Unions Back New Undeclared Work Platform
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCould targeting children’s fitness boost academic performance?
  4. World VisionDeclares the World Humanitarian Summit a Positive Step in a Longer Journey to Ending Need
  5. EJCPresident Dr. Moshe Kantor on Brexit and the Jewish Question
  6. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  7. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  8. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  9. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  11. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  12. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan