Exit polls indicate that far-right political parties are all set to establish a strong foothold in major European nations like France, Denmark and Austria.
When it comes to France, Marine Le Pen's National Front is expected to win 25 per cent of votes, beating the centre-right UMP with 20.3 per cent votes. The Socialist Party, which President Francois Hollande belongs to, is expected to come third with 14.7 per cent of votes. Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the election "an earthquake." He said that it was "more than a warning." "None of us can shirk their responsibilities," he said.
Valls also called the election as "a very serious moment for France and for Europe," CNN reported. He said that the exit polls had revealed that people had become sceptical of the European Union. Pro-Europe European Movement Chairman Petros Fassoulas said that it was a "clear message" that people were "unhappy with the way mainstream political parties have handled the economic crisis." "They're giving them a good kicking," he said.
Even though right-centre and left-centre parties are still expected to win the majority of seats in the European Parliament, right-wing parties are growing stronger. According to European politics expert Simon Usherwood, they are expected to grow even stronger in the coming years. "They don't have enough votes to stop legislation going through but what they will get, particularly on the far right, is the time for speaking in debates, the chairmanship of certain committees, which means that they're going to have much more of a platform on which they can sell their message to voters," Usherwood said.
Here are the highlights of the exit polls as reported by BBC:
- Britain Eurosceptic UKIP holds the first place with 29 per cent of votes. Labour and Conservatives have around 23 per cent of votes each. Greens to beat Liberal Democrats.
- France National Front will get 25 seats, Centre-right UMP in second position and Socialists a poor third with 14 per cent (lowest ever EP score)
- Germany Angela Merkel to win again with 36 per cent for the Christian Union, 27 per cent for the centre-left SPD. Eurosceptic AfD score strong 7 per cent
- Greece Far-left Syriza on 26 per cent, PM Antonis Samaras' New Democracy on 23 per cent. Far-right Golden Dawn to get 3 MEPs, with 9 per cent
- Italy Centre-left PM Matteo Renzi to get 40 per cent, ex-comic Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment Five Star with 22 per cent and ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia with 16 per cent