Depending on who you ask, right-wing parties in Europe had “massive success” in the European Union elections, or the expected populist surge turned out to be little more than “a ripple.”
In France, Marine Le Pen’s “far-right” Rassemblement National defeated President Emmanuel Macron’s party by a narrow margin was narrow, as reported by Reuters.
“The French people have sent a very clear message and a lesson in humility” to Macron, Le Pen’s lead candidate, Jordan Bardella, told supporters, according to the news agency. “It’s him and his politics that have been rejected.”
And Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party appears to have secured the most U.K. seats in the EU’s parliament.
Not that the media isn’t spinning it as a loss, according to English media personality Katie Hopkins.
More from Reuters:
An Elabe exit poll showed Rassemblement National, formerly known as the National Front, securing 23.6% of the vote, a little over one percentage point ahead of Macron’s La Republique En Marche list on 22.4%.
While the result is a defeat for Macron – who has put Europe at the heart of his presidency and personally invested time in the campaign – it was a far better performance than previous incumbents.
Former president Francois Hollande’s party won just 14% of the vote in the last European election in 2014, coming third.
Peter Imanuelsen, a Swedish independent journalist, reported the results as a huge night for the right. And EU skeptics.
“Massive success for the right-wing and EU skeptics this election!” he tweeted.
– Farage wins in UK.
– Le Pen wins in France
– Salvini wins in Italy.
– Orban wins in Hungary.
– Right wing surging in Sweden.
Massive success for the right-wing and EU skeptics this election!
— PeterSweden (@PeterSweden7) May 26, 2019
Farage's Brexit party will be the largest party in the EU parliament. Biggest comeback in the history of comebacks.
— PeterSweden (@PeterSweden7) May 27, 2019
With Europe beset with challenges resulting from liberal immigration policies that have welcomed millions of refugees from the Middle East, Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, said the results mark “the beginning of a new era against migration.”
Tapering the optimism on the right, Politico reported that “the bark of Europe’s far right is worse than its bite.”
An assessment that follows a “phew.”
Characterizing right-wing parties as “illiberal parties,” the news source said they did well in France and Italy, Poland, Hungary and beyond, but “no better than expected, and in some cases worse so.”
More from Politico:
In Germany and Austria, the far-right populists finished below their results in national elections in 2017, down by 1.8 and 3.3 percentage points respectively.
The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party won only one seat in the European Parliament, compared to four last time out. In the Netherlands, far-right parties performed worse than many of their opponents feared. In Spain, the populist Vox party managed to win only about 6 percent of the vote. Estonia’s far-right EKRE party, which recently joined the country’s governing coalition, finished only third in Sunday’s European election.
Though Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party did well in the U.K., capturing first place, it’s unlikely to play much of a role in next Parliament without membership in one of the main alliances, which seems unlikely.
Even in France and Italy, where the populists did best on the Continent, the results are below some expectations.
The Guardian also reported that “Europe’s far right had a modest night at the polls in the European elections, making striking gains in some countries but losses in others.”
At the same time, the paper said that “nationalist and far-right parties will certainly have more representation in this European parliament than in any previous one.”
“I see a bit of a shift to the right but it’s not something that will endanger the operation of the EU,” said Péter Krekó, head of the Political Capital thinktank in Budapest. “Pro-European forces were also mobilized in these elections.”
(It’s noteworthy to see how right and left are characterized by the media in Europe.)
More on the results from The Guardian:
The electoral picture for far-right parties varied from country to country: in Slovenia, an anti-immigration party got the most number of votes, while in Slovakia, a progressive coalition that had stood on a pro-European platform of tolerance came in first place.
In Belgium the far-right Vlaams Belang party was on course to win two MEP seats, while in Holland the anti-Islam Freedom party was set to lose all four of its seats, including that of its leader, Geert Wilders. Thierry Baudet, the new Dutch populist leader who has been taking votes from Wilders, was set to win three seats, but this was less than opinion polls had suggested.
The Danish People’s party, which had enthusiastically signed up to Salvini’s new coalition, was decimated at the polls and on course to lose three of its four existing seats. Germany’s AfD came fourth in the polls, winning a projected 11 seats.
Here’s a quick sampling of the responses on Twitter, beginning with a suggestion that what was seen in Europe may be a result of President Donald Trump and his policies:
The Trump effect!
— Lori Hendry (@Lrihendry) May 26, 2019
As predicted in EU elections…populists & nationalists surge…the elites were wrong again who predicted these movements were a flash in the pan. https://t.co/xnZ1M7tzv1
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) May 26, 2019
EU election results as of right now:
Nigel Farage leading in England
Marine Le Pen leading in France
Salvini leading in Italy
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) May 26, 2019
France: Macron supporter has a hissy fit on live TV after finding out Le Pen is likely to win EU elections. https://t.co/3Xhta9ZWtU
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) May 26, 2019
Congratulations to @Nigel_Farage and the Brexit Party on winning the EU elections in the UK. These elections should never have happened but the message is clear. The British people want a WTO Brexit! #NoDealNoProblem
— David Kurten (@davidkurten) May 27, 2019
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