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Far-right poised to double EU seats

March 9, 2019

Far-right parties are set to double their seats in the European Parliament election in May, according to a new poll. The survey showed far-right parties were ahead in countries like France, Italy and Poland.

Chamber of the European Parliament in Strasbourg
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Seeger

A new poll released by Germany's Bild newspaper on Saturday, conducted in six countries in late February and early March, showed the far-right Europe of Nations and Freedom Group (ENF) was likely to win 67 seats in the European Parliament election in May.

Read more: Macron issues plea for Europe ahead of EU elections 

Europeans go to the polls on May 23-26 to elect representatives to the 705-seat European Parliament. Currently, the ENF group holds 37 seats.

According to the Bild report, which surveyed more than 9,000 people, right-wing euroskeptic parties are in the lead in three of the six countries surveyed.

In France, Marine Le Pen's National Rally party is likely to receive 23 percent of the vote. In Italy, Matteo Salvini's League is poised to win 33 percent of the vote. In Poland, Jaroslaw Kaczynski's Law and Justice, which is not a member of the ENF group, is on pace to secure 42 percent.

Read more: Poland's young voters turning to the right 

Macron's EU initiative

Conservatives, left-leaning parties shed support

Conservative and left-leaning parties have been bracing for a right-wing surge in the European polls following a string of national elections in recent years that have seen euroskeptic parties boost their presence in member state parliaments.

The poll showed the conservative European People's Party (EPP) shedding 43 seats, dropping to 174. Meanwhile, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&P) was predicted to lose 45 seats, dropping to 141.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) is on pace to add 33 seats to hit 101, while the European Greens (EFA) may lose eight seats to reach 44, according to the poll results.

The poll was conducted in Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Spain and France.

Conservatives lead in Germany

In Germany, the poll showed Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian ally, the Christian Social Union, remaining the strongest party with 29 percent.

Read more: Who votes for Germany's far-right party AfD? Not who you'd think 

The Social Democrats and Greens are likely to win 16 and 15 percent of the vote, respectively. The far-right Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), which is not a member of the ENF group, was expected to get 12 percent of the vote while the Left Party was likely to get 9 percent.

cw/cmk (dpa, Reuters)

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