Initial results are coming in now for the elections to the 751-seat European Parliament. Canadians may be particularly interested in these results given this chamber has the power to vote against the ratification of the Canada-EU 'free trade' agreement.
With the exception of Greece, a frightening shift to the right appears to be taking place this election. The Guardian UK reports at this hour (May 25, 5:30 pm ET) that exit polls show:
- In France, the right-wing National Front coming first with more than 25 per cent of the vote, trouncing the Socialists and mainstream conservatives;
- In Denmark, the nationalist anti-immigrant Danish People's party winning by a similar margin;
- In Austria, the far-right Freedom Party taking 20 per cent of the vote;
- In Britain, the right-wing UKIP coming first or second;
- In Germany, Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats winning, but the Social Democrats making significant gains, and the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party winning a seat;
- In Greece, the anti-austerity leftist Syriza party coming first, but with the neo-Nazi group Gold Dawn electing 2 Members of the European Parliament.
Euronews suggests the seat results will be as follows. I've divided those coalitions on the basis of their position on CETA and in brackets noted their previous seat allocations. You'll note a modest increase in seats for those who are likely to oppose CETA, a sharp decline in the parties that have backed CETA, and a significant increase in the parties that could be swung on this issue. The newly-elected right-wing parties (Others) have been placed in the 'Swing' column although as 'Europskeptic' parties they tend to be unsupportive or opposed to European free trade agreements. The overall balance is 394 Members of European Parliament who oppose or could oppose the ratification of CETA and 357 MEPs who are likely to support the deal.
Oppose CETA: 105 (93)
The Greens-European Free Alliance (EFA): 58 (58)
European United Left (GUE)-Nordic Green Left (NGL): 47 (35)
Swing: 289 (225)
Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D): 193 (195)
Non-Inscrits: 40 (30)
Support CETA: 357 (448)
Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE): 74 (85)
European People's Party (EPP): 211 (274)
European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR): 39 (56)
Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD): 33 (33)
These results are not final and the Swing vote will require careful study in the coming weeks.