The gains made by the far-Right in the European Union (EU) elections led to a surprise outcome on Monday as French President Emmanuel Macron, projected to lose heavily to Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, called a snap parliamentary election, with its first round scheduled for later this month.

A report by Reuters says that although the majority in the 720-seat EU parliament is expected to be retained by liberal and socialist parties, the shift to the Right, coming on the back of concerns over immigration, rising costs of living and the Ukraine-Russia war, has raised questions about Europe’s future political direction.

While his decision has been labelled a gamble, Macron, who heads the pro-European and centrist Renaissance party, said in a post on X, “I am confident in the capacity of the French people to make the right choice for themselves and for future generations. My sole ambition is to be useful to our country that I love so much.”

The election won’t affect Macron’s own job, a BBC report noted, adding that the parliamentary and presidential elections are two different exercises in the French political system. While Macron still has three years left in his term, an opponent’s victory in the snap poll may force him to work with a prime minister from a rival political camp.

In Germany, meanwhile, Chancellor Olaf Scholz was also in for a shock, as the far Right Alternative for Germany (AfD) was projected to come second ahead of his party, the Social Democrats. In Italy, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s party Brothers of Italy group, another far-Right outfit, was projected to emerge the winner.

The Reuters report noted that a rightwards shift inside the European Parliament may make it tougher to pass new legislation that might be needed to respond to security challenges, the impact of climate change or industrial competition from China and the United States. However, exactly how much clout the euro-sceptic nationalist parties will wield will depend on their ability to overcome their differences and work together, it added. 

The EU elections take place every five years across the 27-member bloc. It started on Thursday in the Netherlands and continued on Friday and Saturday in other nations. Sunday marked the final day of the election when the bulk of the votes were cast.



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