The night of drama across the EU was capped by the Macron bombing

Via Paul Kirby and Laura Gozzi, BBC News in Brussels and Rome

National Rally (RN) EPA supporters celebrateEPA

Supporters of France’s National Rally (RN) react after President Macron’s decision to call parliamentary elections

Opinion polls were rolling in at the end of the European elections across the 27-nation EU, as President Emmanuel Macron delivered his sensational moment in a televised address before the stunned French people.

“I have decided to give you back the power to choose the future of our parliament with a vote. Therefore I dissolve the National Assembly,” he declared.

The National Rally Party – led by Mr Macron’s rivals Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella – is one of the big gains that Europe’s far-right parties have been hoping for, and confirmation comes from all the exit poll gave the party more than 30%, double that figure. about Mr. Macron’s centrist Renaissance.

But beyond France, the broader story of Europe’s four-day voting marathon really belongs to the centre-right parties.

They tightened their grip on the European Parliament, with victories in Germany and Spain, and significant advances in Hungary, against long-dominant Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The far right did not make the big waves across Europe as many had predicted.

inside NetherlandsGeert Wilders’s Liberal Party came in second, while Shirt’His eponymous party won but only narrowly.

“The center is holding out, but it is also true that the extremes on the left and right have received support,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the center-right head of the European Commission.

“And this is why results come with great responsibility for the parties at the center.”

Before the vote there was discussion that her dominant European People’s Party might consider negotiating with two right-wing groups supporting the far right.

But she made clear that her only allies would be the Socialists & Democrats and the Liberal Renewal group that includes Mr. Macron’s party.

GermanyOpposition conservatives came out on top and they won an impressive 30% of the vote.

But for Prime Minister Olaf Scholz’s SPD party, it was the worst result ever in a European election, coming in third behind the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). .

The AfD has suffered a series of scandals involving espionage, foreign interference and accusations of Nazi support, yet its support has remained.

“After all the prophecies of doom, after the beating of the last few weeks, we are the second strongest force,” said co-leader Alice Weidel. And I tell you, the only way is up.”

EPA Alice Weidel and AfD's Tino Chrupalla celebrate the pollEPA

AfD’s Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla celebrate the vote

Meanwhile, a new anti-migrant far-left party, BSW, led by Sahra Wagenknecht, also performed well – capping off a good night for progressive parties.

IN SpainThe centre-right opposition People’s Party (PP) defeated Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Party, but not by the large margin that PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo had hoped for.

Another far-right party, Vox, came in third.

Meanwhile, in ItalyGiorgia Meloni continues to dominate the country’s politics.

Her Italian far-right brethren defeated Elly Schlein’s center-left Democratic Party by less than four points.

“Thank you to the Italians who continue to choose us… I am proud of tonight’s result,” she told her supporters.

Reuters Giorgia Meloni speaks at an election night rallyReuters

Giorgia Meloni thanked Italians for “continuing to choose” her party

In just five years, Ms. Meloni has more than doubled her party’s number of seats in the European Parliament, while Ms. Schlein’s achievements surprised even party activists.

There are no far-right success stories in sight Belgiumnational election, although the Flemish separatist party Vlaams Belang was widely expected to win.

The Flemish National Union is now the dominant party there, ending the rule of radical Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

“The far right has performed poorly in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland and Poland. But it worked so well in France,” said Professor Alberto Alemanno of HEC Paris, who was surprised by President Macron’s decision to dissolve the parliament.

“It is disproportionate that these election results can push a government out of a country,” he told the BBC.


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