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Far right parties surge in European parliament elections

FAR-RIGHT parties achieved major gains in the European Parliament elections last week.

Results announced on Sunday showed a clear shift to the far right and in France prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to call a snap parliamentary election.

The far-right Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni more than doubled her party’s seats in the assembly. And despite being hounded by a scandal involving candidates, the neonazi Alternative for Germany (AfD) still rallied enough seats to sweep past the slumping Social Democrats of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Overall the Christian Democrats remain the largest group in the 720-seat parliament and de facto brokers of the ever-expanding powers of the legislature.

The provisional results showed that the Christian Democrats would have 189 seats (up 13) the Social Democrats 135 (down four) and the pro-business Renew group 83 (down 19). The Greens slumped to 53, down 18.

Arguably the most disturbing result was the surge of support in the French poll for the far-right National Rally party of Marine Le Pen.

It won over 30 per cent, or about twice as much as Mr Macron’s pro-European Renew party, which is projected to reach less than 15 per cent.

The result in France led to Mr Macron taking the huge gamble of dissolving the country’s National Assembly and calling a general election for later this month.

Ms Le Pen said: “We’re ready to turn the country around, ready to defend the interests of the French, ready to put an end to mass immigration,” echoing the rallying cry of so many far-right leaders in other countries who were celebrating substantial wins.

Leader of the French communists, Fabien Roussel, said his party  would put “all its energy into building the broad popular front, capable of bringing hope to the left and defeating the extreme right,” in the assembly elections.

In Germany, the EU’s most populous nation, projections indicated that voters had not been dissuaded by the AfD’s scandals as it rose to 16.5 per cent, up from 11 per cent in 2019. 

In comparison, the combined result for the three parties in the German governing coalition barely topped 30 per cent.

Chancellor Scholz’s governing Social Democratic party was humiliated as the AfD surged into second place.

German Greens were predicted to fall from 20 per cent to 12 per cent. 

Some experts suggest the fall from grace is partly due to the German Greens’ support for the Israeli war against the Palestinians in Gaza.

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