European green wave tempered by far-right barrier

Published by Kayle Crosson on

May 27th, 2019

The green wave has spread across Europe, with the Greens/EFA party expected to see a 50 per cent bump in seats in the European Parliament.

The counting of tallies across the bloc indicates that the green alliance of MEPS are set to win 75 seat, an increase of 25 from the last election in 2014, and hold almost 10 per cent of the Parliament.

The Green’s strongest performance is in Germany, where the national green party is in second behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU, nearly doubling the total votes they received in 2014. The French greens are also performing strongly.

MEP candidate for Dublin Ciaran Cuffe is expected to top his constituency’s poll and secure a seat in the coming hours. He will become the first Irish green in the Parliament in 15 years.

Saoirse McHugh at Environmental Pillar hustings Photo: Niall Sargent

Greens face battle for seats

The European Green Party co-leader Bas Eickhout said that the Irish people have shown they want to elect representatives “capable of delivering climate action at a local and European level”.

“I congratulate the Irish Greens on a vibrant campaign that has crossed rural boundaries and clearly won the trust of local communities across the country,” he added.

Saoirse McHugh, however, is facing a steep climb to reach the fourth and final seat for the Midlands North West constituency.

While the RTE/TG4 exit poll had McHugh at 12 percent, she has come in with just under eight per cent of the first preference vote, behind both Peter Casey and Maria Walsh in the battle for the fourth seat. Mairead McGuinness has already reached the quota with 22 per cent of the total vote.

Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan is poised to battle it out for the final spot in the South constituency against Fianna Fail’s Billy Kelleher and Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune. A first count is not expected until 6pm tonight.

Election count at RDS Photo: Niall Sargent
Election count at RDS Photo: Niall Sargent

Green wave meets far-right barrier

The green wave, however, has been met with the barrier of a strong nationalist and far-right party performance in the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has secured 29 parliamentary seats, meaning that the new party will gain the largest number of new MEPs compared to 2014 of all national parties running in the European Union.

“If Britain does not leave the EU on October 31st, these results will be repeated at a general election. History has been made. This is just the beginning,” Farage tweeted earlier.

In France, right-wing populist Marine Le Pen’s National Rally is projected to take 25 per cent of the French MEP vote, just beating out La Republique En Marche, an ALDE Pro-EU party.

The centre-left Democratic Party’s support in Italy is set to be slashed in half, and Matteo Salvini’s right-wing populist group Lega is projected to win the majority vote, jumping from seven seats in 2014 to 25.

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Kayle Crosson

Kayle is a multimedia journalist focused on climate and environmental issues and contributes to The Irish Times and The Green News.