EU voters flock to polls on final day of election marathon

Henry

Voters from 21 countries in Europe flocked to the polls on Sunday to cast their ballots on the final – and biggest – day of the election marathon.

RNews earlier reported that Dutch voters kicked off the election marathon on Thursday, which spans four days and takes place across all 27 countries of the European Union (EU).

More than 360 million people across the EU’s 27 nations were registered to vote. However, it is expected that only a fraction of them will cast their vote.

Although it is predicted that centrist mainstream parties will still win most of the European Parliament’s 720 seats, polls suggest that right-wing parties could walk away with around a quarter of the new parliament’s seats and swing EU policy towards ultra-conservatism.

It is expected that far-right Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party in France, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s far-right Fidesz party in Hungary will prevail.

It is also predicted that the election result will have an effect on the EU’s approach to climate change, relations with the USA and China and support for Ukraine.

“These elections are of crucial importance because the European Parliament must begin to play its rightful role,” Kostas Karagiannis told AFP after leaving a polling station in Athens.

The result will determine the makeup of the EU’s next parliament, which helps decide who runs the powerful European Commission, with German conservative Ursula von der Leyen eyeing a second term in charge.

Many European voters, beset by high living costs and who see immigrants as the source of social ills, are increasingly persuaded by populist messages.

Hungarian voter Ferenc Hamori (54) says he wants to see the EU led by politicians like his country’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban – even though he expected he would remain “in the minority in Brussels”.

In countries close to Russia, the frightening image of a threat from Moscow is a great motivation.

“I would like to see better security for our people,” said Dr. Andrzej Zmijewski (51) said after voting in Poland’s capital, Warsaw.

Preliminary results are expected on Sunday evening at 23:00 (SA time).