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सेमिनार: अंग्रेज़ी सीखने का अवसर (23 सितंबर: दोपहर 3 बजे)
Europian Parliament Elections
May 30, 2014

Eurosceptic parties–both of the far-right and the left—have registered the biggest gains in the recently held elections to the European Parliament. Their performance rides on the wave of a protest vote by the citizens of 28 countries against the damaging post-recession economic policies of their own national governments and of the European Union.

In the United Kingdom, it was the anti-EU and anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) under the leadership of Nigel Farage that stormed to victory with 27.5 per cent of the vote, and 24 of the 73 seats the UK has in the European parliament. The Labour Party came second with 25.4 per cent and 20 seats, Conservatives just under 24 per cent with 19 seats, the Green Party 7.87 per cent and 3 seats, the Scottish National Party 2.46 per cent and 2 seats, and the Liberal Democrats faring the worst, with 6.87 per cent of the vote and just one seat.

In the rest of Europe too, the popular antipathy to the European project has driven these elections–in some countries it is the right-wing anti-immigration parties that have capitalised on that sentiment, while in some countries it is the left parties. France and Germany, countries considered the centre of the EU project, both saw a surge in Eurosceptic votes. In France this was decisive with Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front National riding to victory; in Germany the Christian Democrats though still dominant lost seats, and the anti-EU AfD made a breakthrough.  In Denmark, the far-right Danish Peoples Party triumphed, winning 27 per cent of the vote and doubling its seats from two to four. The DPP wants curbs on immigrants both from within the EU and from outside.

In Spain the ruling Popular Party inched past the opposition Socialist party, winning 16 out of the 54 seats against the Socialists’ tally of 14.  But here too, both had to yield ground to political formations that mirrored popular discontent over unemployment and austerity measures. The anti-EU mood brought the relatively new leftwing Podemos (We can) party into prominence, giving it five seats and eight percent of the vote. The Plural Left coalition increased its tally from four to six seats. In Greece, the left Syriza party led by Alexis Tsipras emerged the victor with 26.5 per cent of the vote, with the New Democracy party winning just 22.7 per cent of the vote.

The turnout in the elections averaged 43.1 percent, a bit higher than the 2009 turnout at 43 percent.


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