Prague, Czech Republic – European citizens have elected their new Parliament, and the final results are (almost) in! Here are the key figures and takeaways in Central Europe.
EPP and S&D lose ground while EU’s centrists and far-right gain momentum
The 2019 European elections considerably reshuffled the composition of the EU Parliament, more fragmented than ever before. Although the two main pan-European political groupings remain in the lead, both the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the center-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) are, as widely expected, losing ground: the EPP remains the first European party with 182 seats (-34), followed by the S&D with 147 seats (-40).
Other EU parties from across the political spectrum have reported strong gains: the centrist Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) + Macron’s En Marche rose to the third place with 110 projected seats (+41), followed by the European far-right alliance centered around Matteo Salvini’s Lega (71 seats, +35). The Greens, which fared particularly well in major EU countries like Germany and France, also emerge as strong winners of these elections with 67 projected seats (+15). On the other hand, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), which includes Poland’s ruling party, suffered a strong blow, falling from the third to sixth place with 59 projected seats (-18).
Note: These figures may evolve in the following days and weeks as the final votes are being counted and ongoing negotiations between political parties could result in shifting alliances and coalitions at the EU level.
Slovakia: Anti-government liberal coalition gains momentum
In Slovakia, the non-parliamentary liberal alliance between Progressive Slovakia and Spolu (Together) emerges as the clear winner of the 2019 EU elections, receiving more than 20% of the votes (4 seats). As analysts pointed out after the final votes were counted, the surprising victory of the PS-Spolu coalition was boosted by the results in Bratislava, where more than 36% of voters chose the progressive coalition over the ruling Smer-SD, which barely received 10% of the votes. The capital city also registered the highest turnout in the country (nearly 34%).
This elections also represents a stunning rebuke to the ruling party and governing coalition: Robert Fico’s Smer party only came second with 15.7% (3 seats), a nearly 10 percentage point drop compared to five years ago. The two other junior partners of the ruling coalition (Most-Hid and SNS) failed to exceed the required threshold of 5% to win seats. In the third place, the far-right People’s Party – Our Slovakia (12%, 2 seats) cements its place at the heart of Slovakia’s political landscape but fell short of previous projections, which credited the neo-Nazi party of Marian Kotleba with more than 15%.
Three other Slovak parties managed to send MEP’s to Strasbourg: the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH, linked with the EPP) with 9.7%, the conservative and Eurosceptic Freedom and Solidarity (SaS, linked with the ECR) with 9.6% and OL’aNO (5.3%).
Czech Republic: ANO comes out on top but opposition makes gains
In the Czech Republic, the ANO party of Prime Minister Andrej Babis remains in the lead with more than 21% of the votes, bringing in 6 MEP’s seats for the centrist ALDE group in the European Parliament. Although a clear victory for Andrej Babis, ANO fell short of past election results and didn’t perform as well as expected, with the most recent polls crediting the movement with more than 30% of voting intentions. Meanwhile, the center-left Social Democratic Party (CSSD), junior partner of the ruling coalition, suffered a major defeat and failed to win any seats. The Communist Party, affiliated to but not officially part of the ruling coalition, will only send one MEP to Strasbourg, compared to three in the current legislature.
One of the key takeaways of the election in the Czech Republic is the renewed strength but fragmented state of the opposition: both the center-right ODS party (14.5%, 4 seats) and the Pirates (14%, 3 seats) have made considerable gains and are edging closer to Babis’ ANO. The TOP 09 & STAN alliance (11.7%, 3 seats) comes at the fourth place, followed by Tomio Okamura’s far-right SPD party (9.1%, 2 seats), which will make its entrance in the European Parliament for the first time.
Hungary: Viktor Orban’s Fidesz wins a landslide victory
As opposed to the muddled and fragmented state of the Czech political landscape, the results in Hungary are as clear as day: the ruling Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban won by a landslide, receiving more than 52% of the votes and winning 13 out of the 21 Hungarian MEP’s seats (it’s yet unsure whether Fidesz will remain part of the EPP or not). It’s important to note that Hungary is, along with Malta, the only EU country where a single party managed to receive more than 50% of the votes.
The opposition lags far behind, even though the Democratic Coalition (DK), a liberal party founded by former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, performed better than expected (16.2%, 4 seats). In a commendable third place comes the liberal and centrist Momentum (9.9%, 2 seats), followed by the Socialist Party (6.7%) and the far-right Jobbik party (6.4%), both of which have considerably weakened compared to previous elections.
Poland: Ruling party emerges as clear winner
In Poland, although exit polls put ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and the opposition European Coalition neck-and-neck, the latest results point to a clear victory for Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s conservative party: PiS received approximately 46% of the votes and 24 seats, against 38% and 20 seats for the European Coalition, gathered around the center-right Civic Platform (PO) of former Prime Minister and current European Council president Donald Tusk.
The results also confirm the growing polarization of Poland’s political landscape. According to the latest results, only one other party managed to exceed the 5% threshold: Robert Biedron’s left-wing and liberal Wiosna (Spring) party comes in third place with a disappointing 6% and three seats. With almost all the votes counted, it appears that, contrary to initial expectations, the far-right Konfederacja failed to win any seat.
Turnout on the rise everywhere in Central Europe
According to preliminary figures, turnout has risen almost everywhere in the EU, reaching more than 50%. The same goes for Central Europe: although reporting, like five years ago, the two lowest participation rates in the entire bloc, Slovakia (22.7%) and the Czech Republic (28.7%) saw a sharp rise in voters’ turnout. Poland (43%) and Hungary (43.7%) also registered record-high participation rates, but still below EU average.
In the EU, the highest turnouts were registered in Belgium (89%) and Luxembourg (84%), followed by Malta (73%), Denmark (66%), Spain (64%), Germany (62%) and Austria (59%).