'France’s far-right National Rally party has beaten Emmanuel Macron‘s centrists in a close-run EU election.
Marine Le Pen’s party, a rebranding of the National Front, won around 23.5 per cent of the vote to Mr Macron’s allies’ 22.5 per cent, according to vote share projections released on Sunday night.
Projections showed Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League Party gaining in strength in Italy with nearly 34 per cent of the vote. He calculated that populist and nationalist parties will control at least 150 seats in the new 751-seat European Parliament.
But in countries such as Denmark and Germany, groups such as the Danish People’s Party and AfD have stood still or fallen back compared to recent elections – despite predictions of a far-right populist surge.
Even in France the National Rally victory is a mixed one: the almost 24 per cent of the vote is roughly in line with, or even slightly down on what the National Front won in 2014 – meaning Ms Le Pen has made little progress on previous years against an unpopular president.
The lack of progress suggests it will be hard for Ms Le Pen to win a future presidential election, where she must gain a majority for the vote. The far-right leader declared victory on Sunday evening, calling for a “powerful” EU-wide far-right group in the parliament.
In Spain, the Socialists won 20 of the 54 seats allocated to Spain in the European Parliament. Caretaker prime minister Pedro Sanchez Mr Sanchez said Spain would the leading delegation of Socialists on the European stage, calling it “an enormous opportunity for us but also an enormous responsibility.”
Provisional results from Austria pointed to a big win for Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s centre-right party, days after a scandal involving the far-right Freedom Party brought down his governing coalition. Election officials said that Mr Kurz’s People's Party won 35.4 per cent of the vote.
In Germany the governing parties slid to their worst post-World War II showing in a nationwide election. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right Union bloc won 28.9 per cent of the vote and their coalition partners Social Democrats got only 15.8 per cent. The Greens powered past the Social Democrats into second place.'
Read more: European elections: French far-right National Rally beats Emmanuel Macron's centrists
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