European Parliament elections: 5 takeaways from the results

Alexander Smith, CNBC, 27.05.2019

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The dust has settled on the world's second largest democratic exercise, a continent-wide vote that has left Europe's political landscape reshaped. [...]

2. The collapse of the mainstream

For the first time, the traditional center-left and center-right parties will not have a majority in the European Parliament's 751-seat chamber. The Social Democrats and the European People's Party, groupings which have dominated for years, lost 39 and 36 seats respectively, according to provisional results.

"This is a profound change," said Janis A. Emmanouilidis, director of studies at the European Policy Centre, another Brussels-based think tank. "The two biggest parties have lost a significant number of seats." [...]

5. Good luck trying to govern now

This was the first time in Europe's history that turnout for these elections has risen, climbing from 43 percent to an encouraging 51 percent.

"This is noteworthy," said Emmanouilidis at the European Policy Centre, calling the leap "remarkably higher." [...]

Yet the results spell a European Parliament that is going to be far more fragmented than it has been in recent years. The two centrist giants bled support and will be unable to form the kind of "grand coalition" that they had before. Instead they might need another coalition partner or two, meaning more compromise and room for disagreement on key issues.

Timmermans, of the Social Democrats, has already ruled out attempting to build a coalition with the far right, calling instead for a "progressive" grouping to be formed.

"It will become quite messy," said Emmanouilidis, describing attempts to find consensus in Brussels "an uphill struggle" at the best of times.

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