European Parliament fractured but remains pro-EU

Initial results of the European Parliament (EP) elections indicate that the European Union (EU) is no longer a two-party majority, which could cause some policy decision complications.

European Union (EU) citizens from 28 countries voted on May 23-26 to elect more than 700 members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The pro-EU Greens and liberals, and the Eurosceptic right-wing nationalists and populists made gains in the elections.

According to early official projections based on exit polls, the two-party “grand coalition” of the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), and the center-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D), no longer have a majority in the EP. This means a more fractured EP, making law-making and change more difficult.

France’s center-right and center-left, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her Social Democrat coalition partners, and the UK’s Conservative and Labor parties all lost ground in the elections.

Some analysts have interpreted the results as a rejection of the status quo by some EU citizens who are drawn to other parties for solutions to problems that the EU faces, such as the nationalist right promising anti-immigration and anti-EU policies, as is the case in France, Italy, Hungary, Poland, and the UK.

In the UK, the Brexit Party, a new anti-EU party, is heading for victory at the expense of the Conservative Party.

Some voters seemed to prefer pro-EU alternatives such as the Green Party and liberal groups. Many countries, like Germany, the Nordics, and Portugal, saw a rise in the Green vote. In Germany, the Green party is projected to double its vote share to 21 percent, possibly coming second in the country.

The centrist Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) has been heading for big gains, with its share rising from 67 to 107 seats. The new EP will still be broadly pro-EU as anti-EU populist parties show only limited gains.

Voter turnout reached the highest in 20 years, rising to nearly 51 percent of eligible voters across the 28 member states.

MEPs represent more than 500 million EU citizens, each representing a region of their home country, either under a national political party or independently.

The EP helps shape the EU legislation and the results will affect who gets the key roles in the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch.

The results, based on a mixture of projected and official figures, are still subject to change as more results are to be declared.

    Total Change +/-
Center-right (EPP) MEPs 182 –       39
Vote % 22.3 % – 4.5
Socialists and Democrats (S&D) MEPs 146 –       45
Vote % 19.4 % – 7.5
Liberals (ALDE) MEPs 109 + 42
Vote % 13.2 % + 4.3
Greens (EFA) MEPs 69 + 19
Vote % 11.1% + 3.4
Conservatives (ECR) MEPs 59 –       11
Vote %  

7.2 %

– 0.8
Right-wing nationalists (ENF) MEPs 58 + 58
Vote % 8.7 % + 8.7
Populists (EFD) MEPs 54 + 6
Vote % 8.0% + 0.8
Left (GUE/NGL) MEPs 39 –       13
Vote % 5.2 % – 2.7
Others MEPs 29 + 29
Vote % 4.0 % + 4
Independents (NI) MEPs 8 –       44
Vote % 1.0 % – 5.7


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