Centre-right wins EP poll amid apathy
14 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — Amid record voter apathy and surprising support for anti-EU parties, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) looks set to remain the largest grouping in the European Parliament, followed by the Party of European Socialists (PES).
Provisional results indicated at 1.30pm on Tuesday that the EPP — which includes the Dutch Christian Democrat CDA — won 276 seats in the 732-seat Strasbourg and Brussels-based Parliament, followed by the PES — including the Dutch Labour PvdA — which stands to win 200 seats.
The European Liberal, Democrat and Reformist Party (ELDR) — which includes the Dutch Liberal VVD and Democrat D66 parties — looks set to have won 66 seats. The left-wing European United Left/Nordic Green Left (EUL/NGL) — including Dutch green-left GroenLinks — won 39 seats.
These are provisional results compiled by the European Parliament and EOS Gallup. The new EU Parliament will not be constituted until 20 June.
But after four days of voting, the European election of 2004 could largely be remembered for poor voter turnout and swings against national governments.
Just 45.5 percent or 155 million of some 350 million voters bothered to make it to a polling station in the past few days compared with 49.8 percent five years ago. It indicates the steady decline in participation since the first European election in 1979 is continuing.
The turnout among the 10 new EU member states was under 30 percent, provisional results indicate. In Slovakia and Poland, just 20 and 21 percent of the electorate voted respectively, but in Malta the turnout was 82 percent.
And the popularity of euro-sceptic parties was also a noteworthy outcome of the election. Despite the fact that they do not form a combined faction, the anti-EU parties together hold about 67 seats in the new Parliament.
In Britain, the UK Independence Party — which is demanding that Britain withdraw from the European Union — looks set to win 12 of the nation’s 78 European Parliament seats. The Polish euro-sceptic party also did well.
After voting kicked off on Thursday in Britain and the Netherlands — where 39.1 percent of voters turned up, an increase of about 9 percent compared with 1999 — 19 of the 25 EU member states went to the polls on Sunday.
And similar to the vote in the Netherlands — where the ruling coalition CDA, VVD and D66 lost ground as the PvdA picked up an extra seat — almost every government party across the EU suffered at the hands of electorate as opposition booked successes.
Germany’s governing Social Democrats SPD suffered its worst electoral defeat since World War II as the Christian Democrats CDU-CSU emerged victorious. French President Jacques Chirac’s Union for the Popular Movement finished far behind the Socialist Party.
The only exceptions were in Greece and Spain, where new governments have only recently taken office.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news