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European Parliament 25 May 2014 Elections

Euroskeptic parties won almost one out of five seats in the new EU parliament: about 140 of the chamber's 751 deputies. The backlash was particularly strong in France and Britain. In France, the second largest economy in the eurozone after Germany, the far-right Front National (FN) party emerged on top with around 25 percent of the vote. Far-right and Eurosceptic parties have gained momentum in the 25 May 2014 European Parliament elections, as economic turbulence and austerity measures have strengthened voters' nationalist sentiments. Early results indicate the far-right parties have won in France, the UK, Denmark and Austria. The parliamentary vote lasted for several days, and there are 751 seats from 28 countries up for grabs in the Brussels-based parliament.

The strong right-wing showing in the European Parliament elections may claim an unexpected victim: Ukraine and its European ambitions. Almost one-third of the members who will sit in the Brussels-based parliament until the end of this decade come from parties hostile to the European Union and EU expansion. In many cases, they are full of praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Europes nationalist parties are anti-U.S. and anti-EU. Here, they find common ground with President Putin.

The winner of 20 percent of the votes at the recent elections, the anti-immigration far-right Austrian Freedom party will now have four of its representatives in the EU parliament, up from the previous two. The party, which derives from older fractions that supported the unification of all German-speaking countries, opposes Muslim immigrants, and hopes to form an alliance with the French Front National. It lost to the pro-EU People's Party and the Social Democrats, which together saw the support of nearly 75 percent of the voters.

The far-right Danish People's party (DPP) won the national election with nearly 27 percent of votes, securing four seats in the parliament, up from two previously. The anti-immigrant advocates will dominate the newly formed parliament together with France's Front National and Britain's Ukip. DDP has called for an alliance with Ukip, but does not entirely support Front National, according a Guardian report quoting Morten Messerschmidt. The ruling socialist party came second with just over 19 percent of votes. So far Denmark holds 13 seats in the parliament.

The nationalist Finns party won two parliament seats, having taken 13 percent of the vote. It lost to conservatives from the National Coalition, which received 22.6 percent. The party's popularity declined since the previous elections in 2011, when it won over 19 percent of national votes. Founded in 1995, the party opposes the centralization of power in Brussels and believes EU membership imposes too high a cost on Finland. The anti-immigration party was the second most popular party in Finland in September, 2013, according to its website.

Marine Le Pens Front National won 25.7 percent of French votes, its first win over traditional parties. The party aims to cooperate with more extreme fractions, such as Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary and the neo-Nazi NPD Party in Germany. Formed in 1972 by Jean Marie Le Pen, who resigned in 2011 and was immediately replaced by his daughter, the party opposes immigration and globalization, but has grown less radical in recent years. France's ruling socialist party came third after the center-rightists, with 14 percent. Its leader, President Francois Holland, called the result "painful" and embarrassing for one of the founding nations of the EU.

The neo-Nazi NDP won one German seat in the EU parliament, according to exit polls. It is the first time in history that an openly anti-Semitic party will have a member in the legislative body. The party adheres to anti-immigration policies, calling Europe "a continent of white people," and criticizes capitalism and communism. Its first leader, Udo Voigt, son of a Nazi officer and supporter of Adolf Hitler's rule, won 1 percent of national votes. The party succeeded the German Reich Party, formed in 1964 by members of Hitler's Nazi Party. German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed regret that the populist parties had done well in the elections and called on her counterparts to set conditions to win over voters.

The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party received more than nine percent of the vote, taking three seats in the European parliament. Founded in the 1980s by Nikos Michaloliakos a Hitler supporter and opponent of the view that Nazis were responsible for the mass-murder of 6 million Jews the party took 16 percent of votes in the capital, and 20 percent among the working class, according to the Guardian. One of the party's spokespeople has a swastika tattoo.

Three neo-Nazi representatives from the Jobbik party will represent Hungary in the EU parliament. The radical nationalist party, which has said Jews represent a danger to Hungarian security, took 14.7 percent of votes in the recent elections. In April's national parliamentary elections, the party won the support of more than 20 percent of voters. The country's Fidesz party went far ahead with 51.5 percent of the vote, taking 12 out of 21 Hungarian MEP seats.

Italy's populist Lega Nord, which supports federalism, regionalism and eurocentrism, took 6.2 percent of the vote in the southern European country. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's center-left Democratic Party successfully beat rivals, taking more than 40 percent of votes. The Five Star Movement came second with 25.5 percent. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconis Forza Party closed at 17 percent of the votes. Italy has 73 European parliament seats, the same number as the UK.

The far-right Dutch representatives held onto their four seats after winning 12.2 percent of the vote, a decline from 17 percent in 2009. The anti-immigration party's leaders have spoken against Islam on several occasions, and called for the country to leave the EU. The majority of Dutch votes went to pro-European parties: 15.6 percent to the centrists Democrats and 66 and 15.2 percent to center-rightists from the Christian Democrats. The Netherlands holds 26 parliamentary seats.

In the first British nationwide victory of a right-wing party, the anti-EU UK Independence Party beat David Camerons Conservatives and the opposition Labour party in the recent elections. The British Eurosceptics, led by Nigel Farage, won 23 seats. Conservatives and Labourists took 18 seats each. Before the vote, Ukip held 24 seats. Commenting on the results of the elections, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he took "a very clear message from this election: people are deeply disillusioned they want change. That message is received and understood."




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