The elections that shook the foundations of the European Parliament: Meloni, the key player and Macron's big bet

2024-06-10 22:12:43Fokus SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX
Giorgia Meloni, one of the biggest winners of the European elections

The four-day elections for the European Parliament have shaken the foundations of this parliament. Hard-right parties dealt blows to the ruling parties in France and Germany, the EU's mainstays. France reacted to the result by calling early national elections in three weeks. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's party won more than 28% of the national vote for the EU legislative body, making it a key player in the formation of future alliances. Although pro-European parties will continue to have a majority in the European Parliament, the strengthening of far-right parties will make it more difficult to pass laws. The Greens and liberal pro-business groups suffered heavy defeats.

Undoubtedly in France, the star of an election night that strengthened the positions of the extreme right, was the party of Mrs. Marine Le Pen in France.

Ms Le Pen's anti-immigration and EU-enlargement National Rally party took over 31% of the vote, more than double President Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance party.

"I am dissolving our National Assembly today", the French President announced on Sunday evening, announcing the holding of new elections at the end of this month.

"We have seen that far-right parties in France will do very well. But what was surprising was Macron's reaction to call early elections," says Sophie Russack, an analyst at the Center for Studies of European Policies, based in Brussels.

The French president's decision is seen as a major political gamble as his party could suffer more losses, making the rest of his presidential term, which ends in 2027, difficult.

"I don't understand this political movement. France has strong institutions, he should have trusted them. From start to finish, his five-year mandates are worrying for French society," says Paris resident Cyril Jeancler.

"There are many crises, social, environmental, and these votes reflect a certain social unrest. However, I think that early elections will mark a new beginning and I believe that the French will find a solution for the years to come," says another resident of Paris. Nicolas Desurmont.

Far-right parties secured major gains in the European Parliament. However, the center-right European People's Party was again confirmed as the largest political group in the European Parliament, with 181 seats. Immediately after in second place is the group of social-democratic parties 'S and D'.

"The center remained first. But it is also true that the extremes on the left and the right have gained support, and that is why the result comes with great responsibility for the parties in the center," Ursula von der Leyen, the candidate, said after the results. center for a second term at the head of the European Commission.

"The far-right groups have won a lot. However, in Parliament they need 50% to make decisions. So they will not decide, but what they can do is change the discussions and slowly normalize their thoughts and attitudes of the extreme right," says analyst Sophie Russack of the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies.

One way of influence can appear early on when the center tries to choose the main leaders of the EU. They may need the votes of more right-wing parties such as that of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. In Italy, Prime Minister Meloni's 'Brothers of Italy' party came first with 28% of the vote.

Matteo Villa, analyst at the International Policy Institute (ISPI), says Italy's results have two meanings: first they are a "show of support and strength" for the current government. The second meaning, according to analyst Villa, is:

"Confirming the role of Prime Minister Meloni as a possible bridge between the center-right and the extreme right".

In Germany, the country with the largest population in the EU, the results are best explained by the headlines of the German newspapers: "A slap to the chancellor". All three parties of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government lost, trailing the opposition Christian Democratic Union and the far-right AfD.

"The trend in Germany at the moment is against the government. So it really wasn't surprising. But the level to which they have fallen is quite shocking for a governing coalition," says Andresa Römmele, professor at the German University in Berlin, 'Hertie School' .

A different situation appeared in Central and Eastern Europe. Pro-European parties of the center fared better overall in European Parliament elections on Sunday.

In Hungary, Prime Minister Victor Orban's far-right party won, but a new party, Magyar's Tisza secured 31% of the vote.

The party entered Hungarian politics earlier this year, promising to root out corruption and revive the democratic checks and balances that critics say have crumbled under Mr. Orban.

Slovakia's opposition Progressive Slovakia, a liberal, pro-Western party, defeated the ruling SMER-SD, the nationalist and pro-Russian party of Prime Minister Robert Fico, showing that last month's assassination attempt against him did not lead to an increase of the party in power./ Reuters and AP/ VOA