By Martin Smith and Tash Shifrin | 25 May 2014
Welcome to our liveblog of the European parliament elections – news and analysis, with a particular focus on the racist far right and fascist parties. Scroll down to see the story as it unfolded.
All times are British Summer Time (BST).
Time to wrap up the live blog for now – we’ll have some commentary on the results and what they mean for the future later this week.
• The headlines were made by the fascist Front National in France, taking 25% of the vote in a historic landslide victory that will have repercussions across Europe. This result is bad news for all of us.
• Hardline Greek nazis Golden Dawn are set to enter the European parliament for the first time with three MEPs and a new record vote of more than 9%.
• In Britain the racist populist UKIP topped the poll, and the Danish People’s Party did the same with a big win in Denmark.
• The far right also polled strongly in Austria, where the FPO came third, and in the Netherlands, although Geert Wilders’ racist populist PVV has fallen back from its position at the top of the opinion polls in March.
• But there was better news for antifascists and the left too. In Belgium, the fascist Vlaams Belang did badly, while hardcore nazi Jobbik’s vote in Hungary was about the same as in the last European elections, and well down on its general election performance.
• In Greece, the radical left Syriza scored a very significant victory.
• There has been a big shift from the right to the centre left in Italy and towards the radical left in Spain.
Lots more detail, from lots more countries below. We hope you found the live coverage useful. All our solidarity goes to the antifascists and antiracists who will be debating how to fight back against the fascists in France and elsewhere across Europe. We have a battle on our hands.
5.15pm RESULT Croatia
Croatia is a new member of the EU, joining just last year. It has just one constituency with 11 seats – and the election was contested by a lengthy list of political parties mainly grouped into coalitions.
The winners were the conservative HDZ coalition on 41.42%, followed by the social democrat-liberal Kukuriku coalition on 29.93%, and the greens on 9.42% who took the last MEP seat.
The Alliance for Croatia, a rag bag of fascists and far right nationalists, some associated with paramilitary groups, took 6.88% – missing out on a parliamentary seat.
The leftwing Labour party got 3.4%
4pm RESULT Poland
And update on the vote for far right reactionary party Congress of the New Right, whose leader Janusz Korwin-Mikke, believes women should not have the right to vote. The confirmed result is 7.06% of the vote – marginally less than exit polls showed. It has taken four MEP seats in Poland.
The fascist Ruch Narodowy (National Movement) only took 1.4% of the vote.
3.40pm RESULT Finland
The True Finns party, a right wing populist party with a nasty leaning towards ethno-nationalism, has taken 12.9% of the vote, up 3.1% since 2009. That means it will now have two MEPs instead of one.
This result put it in third place, behind the conservative National Coalition Party (22.6%) and the Centre Party of Finland (19.7%) and just ahead of the Social Democratic Party of Finland, which took 12.3%.
3.30pm RESULT Bulgaria
Good news from Bulgaria, where the fascist Ataka party (yes, its name does mean attack) has plummeted from 11.96% of the vote in 2009 to just 2.97% now. It loses its two MEPs.
2pm RESULT Greece
A huge move to the left with a clear victory for the radical left Syriza. But politics in Greece, where austerity is at its sharpest, are increasingly polarised. So there has been a worrying gain for Golden Dawn’s nazis.
Despite their jailed leadership and the widespread exposure of their fascist politics since they burst onto the scene in the 2012 general elections, this is their highest ever vote. The 9.4% is well up on the 6.9% they took in 2012 and they go to Brussels for the first time with three MEPs.
|Syriza (radical left)||26,57||(6)|
|Nea Dimokratia (conservatiove)||22,71||(5)|
|Chrysi Aygi (Golden Dawn – fascists)||9,40||(3)|
|Elia / Pasok (social democrats)||8,02||(2)|
|To Potami (party of TV presenter Stavros Theodorakis)||6,60||(2)|
|Anexartitoi Ellines (Independent Greeks)||3,46||(1)|
1.30pm RESULT Britain
Here, finally is the result from Britain. Not shown is the happy departure of fascist BNP MEP Nick Griffin – scroll down for link to a nice video of antifascists saying goodbye.
Figures show votes / percentage (percent change) / seats / seats change
|Scottish National Party||389,503||2.46 (0.34)||2||0|
|Liberal Democrat||1,087,633||6.87 (-6.87)||1||-10|
|Plaid Cymru||111,864||0.71 (-0.13)||1||0|
It is absolutely hideous to see racist UKIP come first. But it worth noting what has happened here: voters have shown how much they hate the Tory-Lib Dem government. Both parties have lost heavily and the Lib Dems are nearly wiped out.
That punishment vote has gone two ways: to UKIP and to Labour, although UKIP has profited most in the European Parliament election, which has always been its main campaigning ground. UKIP may well also have benefited from the fall in the BNP vote from 6.2% last time to 1.1% now. But it is very worrying that UKIP’s racist scapegoating, as well as its fake anti-establishment pose, has attracted many of those who are sick of cuts and austerity.
But Labour’s vote has risen by almost as much as UKIP’s in percentage points and is close in real terms. The election system has produced a result in which 330,000 additional votes have provided UKIP with four more MEPs than Labour.
It is also worth looking at the results in the context of the local elections that took place on the same day, in which UKIP’s share of the projected national vote actually fell compared with last year.
UKIP is dangerous, but it is important not to collapse into the idea, heavily promoted in the media this week, that it is all-conquering.
We have to fight UKIP – and its anti-immigrant racism. It is clearly the new third party in British politics and we need to drive it down again.
12.50pm RESULT Germany
Yes, Germany has sent a member of the nazi National Democratic Party to the European Parliament with just 1% of the vote. There is no longer a minimum threshold for taking a seat.
If you’re not sure just how keen on the Nazis the NDP is, here’s a picture of party lead candidate – and now MEP – Udo Voigt, standing in front of a banner with a portrait of Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy führer.
We say Europe is the continent of white people and it should remain that way
12.30pm RESULT Denmark
Exit polls had put the far right racist Danish People’s Party in first place with 23.1% of the vote. The actual result is even worse.
The virulently anti-immigrant party has 26.6%, well ahead of the Social Democrats on 19.1% and the Liberal party on 16.7%. At present, the DPP is in the same European party group as Britain’s UKIP.
12.15pm RESULT Netherlands
Unfortunately, Geert Wilders’ racist populist PVV has scooped an extra seat on top of the three predicted in exit polls and is in third place with a slightly higher vote than projected. But Wilders has fallen back since March, when he was topping opinion polls, and the PVV’s vote is also a fair bit lower than in 2009 when it took 16.97%.
Christian Democrats 15% (5 seats)
D66 (liberal party) 15.4% (4 seats)
PVV 13.2% (4 seats)
VVD (conservatives) 11.9% (3 seats)
Socialist Party (left wing) 9.6% (2 seats)
PvdA (social democrat) 9.4% (3 seats)
CU/SGP (christian right) 7.6% (2 seats)
GroenLinks (green) 7% (2 seats)
PvdD (animal rights) 4.2% (1 seat)
The Christian Democrats gt the largest number of seats (five) despite coming second in the poll because they have a tie-up with smaller religious parties whose votes are transferred to it.
12 noon Austria
We now have some figures from the European Parliament for Austria. They are still an estimate but are likely to be close to the final score.
ÖVP (conservative) 27.3%
SPÖ (spcial democrats 23.8%
FPÖ (racist far right) 19.5%
NEOS (liberal democrats) 7.9%
The FPÖ is up 6.8 percenetage points since 2009 and now has almost a fifth of the vote. But this is still below its best ever vote, in the general election of 1999, when the party took 26.9%.
Just to remind us what it is like, lead FPÖ candidate Andreas Moelzer said in the run-up to yesterday’s elections that the EU was in danger of becoming a “conglomerate of negroes”.
11.45 France – more detail on the fascist vote
The Front National’s vote has now been put at 24.95%, giving it 24 seats in the European Parliament, with the conservative UMP on 20.79%, the ruling Parti Socialiste on 13.98, centre right MoDem on 9.9%, the green EELV on 8.91% and the radical left Front de Gauche on 6.34%.
A breakdown of the FN vote by département shows the fascists’ strongest votes are in areas of high unemployment, in two strips in the industrial north and Mediterranean south of France – as they were in the local elections. These are places where austerity is hammering people and they have been betrayed by the PS.
The départements with the highest FN votes were Aisne (40.02%), Pas-de-Calais (38.87%), Oise (38.22%), the Somme (37.15%), Vaucluse (36.42%), Pyrenees-Orientales (35, 23%) and Var (34.96%).
For an idea of how the FN has been building its base, see our analysis of the French municipal elections in April, when the fascists took 14 town halls.
11.20am RESULT Italy
Confirmation of the shift to the left in Italy.
Partito Democratico (social democrat) 40.8% with 31 seats
Five Star Movement (populist) 21.2% with 17 seats
Forza Italia (Berlusconi) 16.8% with 13 seats
Lega Nord (Northern League – racist populist) 6.2% with 5 seats.
NCD-UDC (christian democrats) 4.4% with 3 seats
Lista Tsipras (left wing) 4% with 3 seats.
Last time round, Berlusconi’s party came first with 35%, PD was on 26%, and the Northern League took 10%. It’s a bit of a turnaround! And a fall in the vote of the racists.
2.50am summary – more to come later on Monday…
This is a grim night for Europe, marked by the landslide victory of the fascist Front National in France – with an estimated 25% of the poll. The FN is the continent’s most successful fascist party and raises the aspirations of all Europe’s far right and fascist paries.
Elsewhere, hardline nazis Golden Dawn are set to enter the European parliament for the first time with three MEPs and a new record vote of more than 9%.
The far right has also done well in Austria where the FPO’s vote has gone up. The fascist Sweden Democrats have increased their vote too – it is half as big again as in 2009.
In Britain we are finally free of the BNP in the European Parliament, but the racist UKIP looks to have topped the poll.
But the picture across Europe is not all bad.
In Greece, the radical left Syriza is on course for a strong first place – there is polarisation here, with many voters moving well to the left. Spain and Italy have shifted to the left as well.
The fascist Vlaams Belang’s vote has halved in Belgium and nazi Jobbik’s vote in Hungary is about the same as in the last European elections, and well down on its general election performance.
Back later, with results from other parts of Europe and a bit of an overview, after some sleep!
I don’t think we are going to get a conclusive result from Britain for a while. The London count is delayed, and the Scottish vote can’t be completed until Monday lunchtime. At present it looks as if UKIP is going to get the first place triumph they have been seeking.
That is very bad news. It doesn’t just boost UKIP itself, but drags the mainstream Labour and Tory parties to the right as they make more concessions to UKIP’s anti-immigrant agenda.
Although as it stands, Labour is in third place behind the Tories, that will probably be reversed when the London result is in.
2.20am Italy – story so far
Voters in Italy have shifted strongly to the left. Just over half the votes have been counted so far and the social democrat PD is in first place with a whopping 42.8%, more than twice as much as the populist “anti-politics” Five Star Movement, which has 20.8%. Forza Italia – the party of media tycoon and crook Silvio Berlusconi – is on just 15% and the racist populist Lega Nord (Northern League) is on 6%. A leftwing group, Lista Tsipras (named after the leader of Greece’s radical left Syriza) is on 4.3%.
To put that in context, in 2009 Berlusconi’s party came first with 35%, PD was on 26%, the Northern League took 10%, the liberal Italy of values had 8% and the christian democrat Union of the Centre was on 6.5%. The radical left did not pass the 4% threshold for an MEP seat.
This is a huge move leftwards – and it is particularly good to see that the Northern League vote has gone down along with Forza Italia.
There’s a nice video on this BBC report, in which antifascist protestors say a last fond farewell to the BNP’s Nick Griffin.
1.10am Britain – update
The results so far in Britain:
UKIP ahead with 22 MEPs and 29.12%
Conservatives on 16 MEPs and 24.11%
Labour on 14 MEPs and 23.56%
Greens on 2 MEPs and 7.72%
Lib Dems with 1 MEP and 6.95%
Plaid Cymru with 1 MEP (its percentage is very low as the Welsh nationalist party only stands in Wales).
But we are still waiting for the results from London – where Labour will be strong and UKIP much weaker – and Scotland, where Labour will fight for the top spot with the Scottish National Party and UKIP is also weak.
There are eight seats at stake in London and six in Scotland.
These should push Labour safely ahead of the Tories, but it looks likely that UKIP will keep first place. Grim.
12.50am Greece – update
More than 54% of the votes have now been counted, and Golden Dawn’s nazis look set to enter the European parliament for the first time with three seats. The good news is the strong lead still held by radiccal left Syriza over the conservative New Democracy.
The ND’s coalition partner in the austerity government, social democratic Pasok, is not looking too healthy at all with just 8% of the vote and a couple of seats. They came first in 2009 with 34% of the vote and eight seats.
Syriza 26.55% (6 seats)
New Democracy 23.05% (5 seats)
Golden Dawn 9.43% (3 seats)
Elia/Pasok 8.02% (2 seats)
Potami 6.53% (2 seats)
Communists 6.06% (2 seats)
Independent Greeks 3.39% (1 seat)
12.40am Poland – exit poll
The far right reactionary party Congress of the New Right, whose leader Janusz Korwin-Mikke, believes women should not have the right to vote, has won 7.2% of the vote and taken four MEP seats in Poland, an Ipsos exit poll says.
12.20am RESULT Slovakia
The headline in Slovakia is the incredibly low turnout of just 13%. The good news is that neither the various fascist parties, nor the ultra-nationalist parties has won a seat.
|Political party||Number of valid votes||Share of valid votes in%||Number of seats|
|SMER – Social Democracy||135089||24.09||4|
|Christian Democratic Movement||74108||13.21||2|
|Slovak Democratic and Christian Union – Democratic Party||43467||7.75||2|
|Ordinary People and Independent Personalities||41829||7.46||1|
|NOVA, Conservative Democrats of Slovakia Civic Conservative Party||38316||6.83||1|
|Freedom and Solidarity||37376||6.66||1|
|The Hungarian community – Magyar Közösségi Pártja||36629||6.53||1|
|MOST – HÍD||32708||5.83||1|
11.50pm RESULT Belgium
Good news from Belgium where the fascist Vlaams Belang (formerly the Vlaams Blok) has seen its vote halved. In 2009 it took 9.8% – now it is on 4.6%. The big winner of the election is the N-VA, a conservative but Flemish nationalist party that wants to turn Belgium into a federation of regions based on langauge
Figures are percentage / percent chage / seats / seat change
|PS – SP||centre left||9.19%||-1.69%||3||0|
|MR – PFF||liberal||9.04%||-0.70%||3||+1|
|CDH – CSP||christian democrat||3.77%||-1.22%||1||0|
Some provisional results from Austria, where the racist far right FPÖ has taken a fifth of the total vote, well up on 2009.
ÖVP (conservative) 27.3% (-2.7)
SPÖ (spcial democrats 24.2% (+0.5)
FPÖ (racist far right) 20.5% (+7.8)
Greens 13.9% (+4)
NEOS (liberal democrats) 7.6
11.10pm RESULT Spain
Fascists and far right parties inside the Spanish state have had a bad night. Here are their votes, with thanks to the antifascist coalition La Red Unitaria Contra el Fascismo y el Racismo.
Candidates Votes %
VOX 242,091 1.56%
FE de las JONS 21,326 0.13%
Impulso Social 17,551 0.11%
LEM 16,703 0.10%
DN 12,763 0.08%
MSR 8,775 0.05%
LEM: La España en Marcha
DN: Democracia Nacional
MSR: Movimiento Social Republicano
Impressive left vote
In more good news, the left has gained strongly. The table below, released by the interior ministry shows the United Left coalition (La Izquierda Plural) up from two seats to six, while Podemos, which grew out of the Indignados movement (a huge Occupy-type movement) has come from nowhere to take five seats.
The top of the table shows the conservative PP and the centre left PSOE – but their shares are down hugely from 2009, when the PP got 42.12% and the PSOE took 38.78%. Anger at austerity has provoked a big shift to the left.
|LA IZQUIERDA PLURAL||1.559.653||9,99%||6|
AND WE ARE NAZI-FREE! Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist BNP and one of the two MEPs elected for the party in 2009 has conceded defeat.
The second MEP Andrew Brons left the BNP (to form his own fascist splinter party) but did not stand in the Euro elections.
Congratulations to all those antifascists who campaigned so hard for so many years against the BNP across the country, especially those in the North West who aere celebrating tonight, and those in Barking and Dagenham and Stoke on Trent where the BNP was broken.
10.30pm RESULT: Hungary
Hardcore nazi party Jobbik has taken 14.68% of the vote, coming second behind the hard right Fidesz, which won an absolute majority of the vote with 51.49%.
The centre-left socialist party MSZP scored 10.92%, just ahead of centre left rivals the Democratic Coalition (DK) on 9.76%. Two green parties E-PM (7.22%) and LMP (5.01%) made up the rest of the parties that gained seats.
Socialist MSZP 2
Jobbik’s vote is below the 20% it took in Hungary’s parliamentary elections in April. It is almost the same as the 14.77% it won in the 2009 European elections.
The fascists really have made an earthquake in France. Just to put that estimated 25% vote for the Front National in context, here’s a reminder of the votes in 2009. Back then, the FN got 6.3% of the vote, only marginally ahead of the radical left Front de Guache (and because the anticapitalist NPA picked up another 4.9%, the radical left was well ahead of the fascists. The FN got three MEP seats.
If the exit poll figure for Le Pen is correct, she has replaced the mainstream conservative UMP in first place and will get a similar number of MEPs to the UMP last time (there have been changes in the allocations of seats across the EU members).
This is very, very bad news.
UMP 27.8% 29
PS 16.48% 14
EE 16.28% 14
MoDem 8.4% 6
FN 6.3% 3
FG 6% 5
NPA 4.9% 0
Sweden – we have another exit poll
These figures, from Swedish broadcaster SVT, have the change from 2009 in brackets. We can see that the fascist Sweden Democrats have – on these projections – doubled their vote.
In the 2010 general election the Sweden Democrats crosssed the 4% threshold needed to win seats in parliament, taking 5.7% of the vote and winning 20 seats. This would be another step forward for them.
Left Party: 8.1 (+2.4)
Social Democrats: 23.7 (-0.7)
Green Party: 17.1 (+6.1)
Centre Party: 6.2 (+0.7)
Liberals: 9.5 (-4.1)
Christian Democrats: 5.1 (+0.4)
Moderates: 13.0 (-5.8)
Pirate Party: 2.5 (-4.6)
Sweden Democrats: 7.0 (+3.7)
Feminist Initiative: 7.0 (+4.8)
Others: 0.8 (-2.9)
Britain – this blog is brought to you live from the ridiculously primitive country where we voted on Thursday but still don’t have any exit polls… [Edit: It has been pointed out to me that the lack of exit polls might be because rest of Europe hasn’t voted, rather than Britain being especially backward… The Netherlands seems to have had exit polls though…]
Here’s what might happen: antifascists are hoping to celebrate the defeat of fascist British National Party leader Nick Griffin in the North West region. He and fellow nazi Andrew Brons (Yorkshire and the Humber region) were elected in 2009, in what was a huge shock.
Since then, years of systematic antifascist campaigning have smashed the BNP’s electoral operation – they lost their seats in key councils Barking and Dagenham in 2010 and Stoke on Trent in 2011. Now they have just two council seats left across the country.
Brons did not stand this time, so if Griffin gets the boot, Britain’s MEP contingent will be nazi-free.
The bad news, however, is the rise of the racist populist UKIP party. They have been on the rise sharply for the past couple of years and saw their votes surge in last year’s county council elections. On Thursday in the local elections (on the same day as the European poll) UKIP’s projected national share of the vote actually fell back from 23% to 17% – despite the media hype.
But they traditionally campaign around the European elections and are expected to take a far bigger vote when the results come through. Opinion polls have been putting UKIP in first place for some time, so if they are knocked back into second by Labour, that would be relatively good news even though they are likely to gain many more seats than in 2009. UKIP is a serious danger.
9.05pm Germany – There is a possibility that the hardcore nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) could enter the European Parliament with an estimated vote of just 1%. Germany has axed its previous 3% threshhold for gaining a seat.
We don’t yet have a confirmed result, though.
Udo Voigt, the lead candidate for the NPD in the elections told the Reuters news agency:
We say Europe is the continent of white people and it should remain that way
We want to make sure that even in 50 years’ time an Italian, a Frenchman, an Englishman, an Irishman and a German are still recognizable as European and cannot be mistaken for Ghanaians or Chinese.
The party particularly targets the Roma and Sinti minority – of whom around 500,000 were murdered by Hitler’s Nazis in the Holocaust – and immigrants.
9pm Exit poll from Denmark
The right wing populist Danish People’s Party – which builds its base on opposition to immigrantion and multiculturalism – is believed to have beaten the ruling Social Democrat party. Exit polls put the DPP on 23.1%, with the Social Democrats on 20.5% and the Liberal party on 17.2%. At present, the DPP is in the same European party group as Britain’s UKIP.
8.30pm more exit polls
Netherlands The news from here is much better. The Netherlands, like Britain, voted on Thursday, and the exit poll by Ipsos puts Geert Wilders’ racist poulist PVV in fourth place.
Christian Democrats 15.2%
D66 (liberal party) 15.6%
VVD (conservatives) 12.3%
Socialist Party (left wing) 10%
These figures would give Wilders just three MEPs, down from the current five. It was only in March that Wilders was coming top of national opinion polls, but his racist call for “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands sparked turmoil in the PVV.
8.15pm Exit polls
There are exit poll figures from several countries coming through. Remember, exit polls are not always accurate and the level of accuracy varies in different countries – these figures should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Greece – these figures are an estimate issued by the interior ministry. The good news is that radical left Syriza looks like it’s heading for a win, ahead of the conservative New Democracy.
But the bad news – if these figures are borne out – is that nazi Golden Dawn’s vote has gone up substantially since its 6.9% in the 2012 general election. It is projected to be 9.3% in the Euros, probably enough to win its first two MEPs.
New Democracy 22.8%
Golden Dawn 9.3%
Communists (KKE) 6%
Independent Greeks 3.4%
Exit polls put the far right Freedom Party (FPO) in third place with 19.5%, behind the centre-right People’s Party on 27.6% and the Social Democrats on 23.8%.
Very bad news from France. The exit polls have put Marine Le Pen’s fascist Front National top with 25% of the vote. The conservative UMP is projected to be substantially behind on 21% with president Hollande’s ruling Parti Socialiste trailing in with 14%.
Opinion polls before election day had shown Le Pen in a strong position, but these results – if confirmed – would be a historic breakthrough for the fascists. They have never come first before.