Politics, World, Europe

European politics in 2019 marked by rise of far right

Far-right parties win elections in three of four most populous countries in EU, gain ground in other polls

Fatih Hafiz Mehmet   | 26.12.2019
European politics in 2019 marked by rise of far right

ANKARA

Rise of the far right strongly influenced European politics in 2019, particularly in the EU Parliament elections but also in national and local polls.

The most prominent success of far-right parties was their domination of EU Parliament elections in May in three of the EU’s four largest countries by population: France, the U.K. and Italy.

In France, the far-right National Rally Party of Marine Le Pen narrowly beat President Emmanuel Macron’s party coalition, receiving 23% of the vote.

In the U.K., which is about to leave the EU, the Brexit Party of populist politician Nigel Farage won with 30%.

In Italy, the far-right populist League Party of Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini scored a sweeping victory, receiving 34% of the vote, well ahead of the runner-up, the leftist Democratic Party, which received 22%.

The strong showing of these Eurosceptic parties raises serious questions over the future of the EU.

The rise of the far-right was also evident in other elections held this year.

Spain held two general elections -- one in April and one in November. The far-right Vox party secured 24 seats in the 350-seat parliament during the first election and 52 seats in the second, becoming the third-largest party in the country.

In Germany, meanwhile, October elections in east-central Thuringia state reflected the rise of the far-right vote in the EU’s most populous country.

While the Left party won, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party came in second, receiving twice the number of votes compared with the previous election.

On the other hand, Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union suffered a crushing defeat, managing to win only 21.8%, down 12 percentage points from the last election.

In Italy, besides his EU election victory, far-right politician Salvini also scored a historic win in October elections in Umbria, a region ruled by the left for half a century.

The coalition headed by Salvini received 57% of the vote, while the center-left coalition garnered 37%.

Salvini is also clearly leading in opinion polls for Italy’s next general election.

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