An era of dissatisfaction: elections for the European Parliament, 2024 – and for the French National Assembly

Source: European Commission

The final results of the 2024 European Parliament Election did indeed demonstrate the widely expected shift to the far-right. Although this shift was smaller than predicted overall and varied across regions, it has impacted the political balance in Europe. The far-right gained seats and has reorganized. The ID party has disbanded, with most of its constituent parties transferring their allegiance to the new Patriots for Europe alliance. This group consists of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (Jordan Bardella will lead the group in the European Parliament),Fidesz (President Orban’s party), Geert Wilders’ PVV, Spain’s Vox, and several other European far-right parties. Additionally, the governing Czech ANO party, formerly part of the liberal Renew Europe party, has joined this alliance. Patriots for Europe is now the third force in the EP, overtaking the “serious far-right” of the ECR parties. Patriots for Europe is now the third-largest force in the EP, overtaking the ECR parties. Combined, these two groups have 162 MEPs, excluding Germany’s AfD party, which has been denied membership in either group, and several smaller parties and independent MEPs aligned with the right of the EPP. Overall, the far-right is expected to be almost on par with the EPP. This is a new era in EU politics.

The EPP parties received the most votes but only slightly more seats remaining however the largest political grouping in the EP, while the S&D group’s votes and seats remained relatively stable. The true losers of these elections were the Green and Renew groups, which faced significant electoral setbacks. In contrast to the general picture, far-right parties in several countries, such as Finland, Sweden, and Portugal, suffered notable losses, resulting in a mixed performance for the far-right on a country-by-country basis.

While the far-right surge did not occur uniformly across Europe, it did in its two most powerful countries, Germany and France.

In Germany, the AfD placed second in the elections, surpassing the ruling Social Democrats. This result signifies a dangerous shift to the right, creating existential problems for the SPD-led coalition government. Combined with Marine Le Pen’s decisive victory in France, this points to a near future where the two major powers of the EU could be politically dominated by the far-right, a prospect with potentially profound consequences.

France

It was in France though that Marine Le Pen’s victory (RN) and the electoral collapse of the President’s own party, prompted Emmanuel Macron to call for snap parliamentary elections on June 30th, leading to political realignments within the French political scene. Notably, the parties of the left reacted swiftly by forming a New Popular Front to challenge Marine Le Pen. This broad coalition spanned from the Socialist Party to Trotskyite groups.

After a triumphant first round for the RN, the second round cut down its ambitions, as the New Popular Front surged to first place, after a relatively well co-ordinated and observed strategic withdrawal of candidates both from the Left and the Center in favor of the highest placed competitor to the RN candidate in many jurisdictions. The stability of the “republican alliance” against the far-right remains to be seen in the coming weeks and months, as the parliamentary arithmetic makes the selection of a viable Prime Minister a difficult puzzle. The dissatisfaction with Macron’s rule however is palpable, and it is very likely that Marine Le Pen (or her successor) will challenge the 2027 presidential elections from a position of increased political clout.

Total participation in these elections increased (as did participation in the French legislative elections), making them the most attended European Parliament elections since 1994. It remains to be seen whether this is a development contingent on the particular political circumstances or a new longer-term trend.

An era of dissatisfaction: elections for the European Parliament, 2024 – and for the French National Assembly was last modified: July 9th, 2024 by Mihalis Panayiotakis

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