Populists hold gains in 'No Brexit' EU vote poll
BRUSSELS, Belgium – Britain's participation in EU elections next month would not significantly change expectations for a more politically fragmented European Parliament with a marked rise by populists, a closely-watched poll showed on Thursday, April 18.
A regular survey published by the European Parliament for the first time included 73 seats for UK MEPs, but the country's participation, imposed if it is still a member of the EU at the time of the May elections, does not fundamentally change the outlook.
Center-right parties belonging to the European People's Party (EPP) and those affiliated to the left Socialist and Democrat Group (S&D) are expected to lose 37 seats each, with 180 elected for the EPP and 149 for the S&D, according to a projection based on surveys conducted in all 28 EU countries.
But in a break with history, the two groups that have dominated the European Parliament for years would lose their ability to pass laws on their own.
Instead, the EPP and S&D will have to deal either with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) or the Greens.
Centrist ALDE is credited with 76 elected officials, to which it could add 21 French elected officials from Republic on the Move, the party of President Emmanuel Macron. The Greens were given 57 projected MEPs.
Projections confirm the rise of Eurosceptic or Europhobic groups, reinforced by the strong progression to 26 seats of MEPs linked to Italy's far-right deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini and the 11 seats of German far-right party, Alternative for Germany.
The survey worked under the premise that the next parliament will have 751 seats as at present and not 705 if the UK withdraws, although London still hopes to achieve Brexit and leave without having to take part in the elections.
The latest UK poll by YouGov on Wednesday gave the top spot in Britain to the Brexit Party of Eurosceptic Nigel Farage with 27% of the votes, followed by Labour (22%) and Conservatives (15%). – Rappler.com