Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

Europe

Conservative parties clean up in EU poll

Video by AFP

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-08

Conservative parties decisively beat Socialists in the EU parliamentary elections which ended Sunday, marred by a new record-low turnout. Significant gains were made by far-right parties across Europe.

AFP - Conservative parties decisively beat Socialists in the EU parliamentary elections which ended Sunday, marred by a new record low turnout.



As Europe's left failed to capitalise on widespread concerns over the recession, far-right anti-immigrant and eurosceptic parties seized on the void to gain support for their hardline message.



Projected results did not augur well for embattled British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, showing his Labour Party embarrassingly beaten into third place by the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip), which wants Britain out of the European Union.

The extreme right-wing British National Party won its first ever European Parliament seat, while Dutch anti-Islamic lawmaker Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom came second with 17 percent of the vote.

Finland's nationalist and eurosceptic True Finns party also saw a strong rise in support, with 10 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results.

Socialist parties in power in Britain, Spain and Portugal were punished by their electorates while other left-wing parties in opposition in Germany and France suffered painful losses.


The centre-right European People's Party secured 267 seats, making it the biggest group in the 736-member assembly, ahead of the Socialists on 159 seats, according to official estimates.

The result gives the EPP nearly as many lawmakers as they had in the last parliament, which was larger with 785 seats. The strong showing also comes despite the British and Czech conservatives deserting the group.

The Liberals came in third with 81 seats followed by the Greens with 54 seats in the parliament, the European Union's only directly elected institution.

Some 388 million people were eligible to vote in the world's biggest transnational elections which were spread over four days.

Turnout slumped to 43.6 percent, down from 45.5 percent in 2004 and the lowest rate ever.

"The turnout compared to 2004 shows that this is not the time for complacency," European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said, urging national governments to play a more visible EU role.

"It's a sad evening for social democracy in Europe. We are particularly disappointed, (it is) a bitter evening for us," said the head of the Socialist bloc, German lawmaker Martin Schulz.

In Britain, Brown's ruling Labour Party was braced for a drubbing which will add to pressure on his leadership after a week of political turmoil.

According to a BBC projection, Labour was expected to win only 16 percent of votes, behind the main opposition Conservatives on 27 percent and the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip), which wants Britain out of the European Union, on 17 percent.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives came out on top, trouncing her centre-left rivals in what was seen as a dry run for September's general election.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's right-wing UMP party romped home with 28 percent of the vote, leaving the opposition Socialists trailing with only 16.8 percent, barely ahead of the Greens.

Italy's scandal-plagued centre-right Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rode the wave, holding his lead with 35 percent of the vote.

Spain's opposition conservatives beat the ruling Socialists, with the opposition Popular Party getting 42 percent against 38 percent for Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's party.

The Socialist party of Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates also suffered a surprise defeat by the right-wing Social Democrats.

In Austria, the list of eurosceptic campaigner Hans-Peter Martin made major gains, while the ruling Social Democrats had their worst election debacle ever, official results showed.

In Ireland, which voted on Friday, the centrist Fianna Fail party led by Prime Minister Brian Cowen suffered a voter backlash, losing out to the opposition Fine Gael.

In contrast to its centre-right European peers, Greece's ruling conservatives trailed the opposition Socialists for their first defeat in five years amid a record-low turnout.

In Bulgaria, accusations of vote-buying including three arrests marred the elections, despite an unprecedented clampdown.

The centre-right victory boosts Barroso's chances of securing a second term at the helm of the EU executive arm when his mandate expires in November.
 

Date created : 2009-06-07

COMMENT(S)