Elections round-up: EPP loses but stays as biggest group, while anti-EU parties surge

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Europe’s voters have backed a vast array of anti-EU and anti-establishment voters in the 2014 European Parliament elections, sending fewer MEPs from each of the main political groups back to Brussels and Strasbourg.

Despite being the biggest loser of the night in terms of seats, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) looks like emerging as the biggest party in the European Parliament with its support holding up in Germany and Poland among the larger member states, and good support across central and Eastern Europe. The Socialists are also set to lose a handful of seats, with the Liberals likely to lose around 20 seats according to the latest projections.

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With more than 100 MEPs who are not currently in an group, including many new parties, the complexion of the Parliament could well change, and a new far-right group may be formed (although finding sufficient nationalities is likely to be the biggest challenge).

This dynamic is likely to force the EPP and Socialists to work together – possibly with the Liberals too in order to form a block of more than 400 seats that can safely pass legislation and agree on positions – despite the danger that this may pose of appearing not to take on board voters’ anger, expressed by supporting Eurosceptic parties.

Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured), the EPP candidate for the European Commission presidency, has been charged with having the first attempt to form a majority for a candidate in the Parliament and European Council. However, Martin Schulz and Guy Verhofstadt remained bullish about their chances of forming their own majorities or of seeking policy concessions if Juncker is put forward.

Even if Schulz does not become Commission President, the increase in support for the Social Democrats in Germany – and the attribution of this success to Schulz himself by the SPD leader, Sigmar Gabriel – is likely to see the Parliament President take another leading position in Brussels.

Although turnout rose by 0.11% – ‘reversing a historic trend’, national leaders may try to look elsewhere for a Commission president, believing that no candidate has a clear mandate. David Cameron, the British PM, is already seeking allies to put forward an alternative. Such moves could help lead to a long inter-institutional battle this summer.

Read our country-by-country analysis of the European Parliament election results and their impact, with input from Burson-Marsteller offices and affiliates around Europe:
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The winner of the election in Austria was the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). The expected head-to-head race between the two governing parties, the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and ÖVP did not occur, nor did the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) live up to expectations.

In Austria, there is one peculiarity: no political party really lost the elections. The Austrian People’s Party lost votes, but is still in the lead. All the other parties won votes, since the third-placed list from 2009 (the Hans-Peter Martin list) did not take part this time.

The Green Party won 5.2 percentage points more than last time, gaining one more MEP, giving it three MEPs. The FPÖ won two more seats, and now have four. The number of Social Democrat MEPs remains the same and the ÖVP lost one seat, giving each party five MEPs.

The new liberal party, NEOS, which ran for the first time, won 7.9 %, which was less than expected. They had hoped for two MEPs, but will only have one.

Two new MEPs should be noted in particular: the lead candidate for the Socialists, Eugen Freund and Harald Vilimsky, the lead candidate for the Austrian Freedom Party. Freund was a TV anchorman and this is his first political experience. Vilimsky is far-right and very ideological.

The discussion about the European Commission nominee will start now. Angela Merkel apparently prefers Johannes Hahn to be Austria’s nominee. We have to wait and see whether the Austrian Socialists will insist on the nomination, but nobody seriously believes that the political pressure will be strong enough to nominate a commissioner against the wishes of the German chancellor.

Ecker & Partner, Vienna

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The elections in Belgium were less ‘European’ than in other countries, as citizens also cast their vote for the regional and federal parliaments.

In Flanders, the Flemish nationalist N-VA won with more than 30 per cent of the vote, in part due to a substantial shift from voters of the Flemish extremist Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang) party, which scored less than six per cent. Nevertheless, this victory is likely to make for difficult coalition negotiations as the parties in power were not punished by their electorate, and a government without the N-VA is still a possibility.

In Wallonia, the Socialists lost votes to the extreme-left PTB-GO! but remains the strongest party, very closely followed by the liberal Reformist Movement (MR). The Francophone Green party, Ecolo, lost a significant number of votes as well.

At the European level, results mainly reflect the national scores. The N-VA tops the polls with four elected MEPs. However, the liberal family remains the largest with Guy Verhofstadt receiving almost half a million preference votes. Karel De Gucht was also elected but the Trade Commissioner will not take up his seat.Contrary to the anti-EU trend in other European countries, only one seat is taken by the Eurosceptic Vlaams Belang, and no new parties make an entrance into the Parliament.

The coalition-building promises to be difficult on both national and regional levels and could go many ways. The European results are not expected to have an impact on the national level, or vice-versa. The appointment of the Commission nominee may be a factor in the decision on who becomes the new Belgian prime minister.

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As expected, the centre-right GERB party is in first place with 30.7% of the vote, far ahead of the ruling Socialists (BSP, 19.0%).

In fact, the Liberal DPS, with 17 per cent, missed pushing BSP into third place by only a small number of votes.

These elections also saw the emergence of a new political force, ‘Bulgaria Without Censorship’, with its leader Nikolay Barekov, most probably will taking the place of the far-right Attack party as a balancing force between the ruling parties. Voter turnout was 35.52%.

Reacting to the results of the European elections, GERB, Bulgaria Uncensored and the Reformist Bloc demanded the immediate resignation of the government. The call was rejected by BSP leader Sergey Stanishev who, while conceding the heavy loss, said he will not resign either.

Also worth noting is that DelianPeevski announced that he is resigning his parliamentary place, leaving it to Iskra Mihaylova, the current Minister of Environment and Water (who was fifth on the list). Peevski’s past had come under scrutiny and his position on the DPS list had been criticised by other European Liberals.

Chapter 4 Communications

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The right-wing coalition led by the strongest opposition party – Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) – won 41.4% of the vote in the European Parliament election.

The HDZ led-coalition won six out of the 11 Croatian seats in the European Parliament while the ruling coalition, led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), won 30.0% of the vote and the Sustainable Development of Croatia (ORaH) party, led by former SDP official Mirela Holy, won 9.4% of the vote. The right-wing Alliance for Croatia pact won 6.9% of the vote, but did not manage to win an EU seat.

Although the turnout was relatively low (25.3%), the victory of HDZ and the surprising emergence of ORaH is a blow for ruling SDP and Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, who is under fire from his own party. The Croatian Labour Party is perceived as the biggest election loser, with a significant drop in support (from 5.8% to 3.4%) and the loss of its European Parliament seat.

Chapter 4 Communications

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Cyprus emerged from the European Parliament election in much the same state as it had entered it – with two EPP MEPs, two for the S&D Group, and two far-left MEPs.

61 candidates contested the seats, including a handful of Turkish Cypriot candidates.

Democratic Rally (DISY), which is in government, topped the polls with 37.7% of the vote, returning MEP Eleni Theocharous, now the only female Cypriot MEP, and Christos Stylianides – a former government spokesperson and possible Commission nominee – who just edged out Lefteris Christoforou for the second DISY place.

Takis Hadjigeorgiou and former minister Neoklis Silikiotis were elected for AKEL, stressing the need to solve the island’s division and pledging to “struggle within the EU against the policies that have led the European south to today’s dire state.”

DIKO, which sits in the S&D Group, will be represented by Kostas Mavrides rather than current MEP Antigoni Papadopoulou in a fierce battle. He will be joined in the Socialist contingent by Yiorgos Papadakis, who ran on the joint ticket of EDEK and the Greens and narrowly defeated his Green rival Yiorgos Perdikis in the final count.

Czech Republic
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The European Parliament election in the Czech Republic had a turnout of 18.2%, down nearly ten points from 2009.

ANO 2011, which sits with the Social Democrats (ČSSD) in the Czech government, won the elections with 16.1% ( four seats), followed by the EPP-affiliated TOP 09 (16.0%, four seats), the ČSSD (14.2%, four seats) and the Communists (11.0%, three seats).

The two seats for the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) means that the EPP delegation will be the largest of the Czech delegations, which the Civic Democrats (ODS), which won handsomely in 2009, saw its representation fall to just two members. The right-wing Party of Free Citizens (Svobodní) also won a seat.

A number of smaller parties also polled above one per cent – which is significant in the Czech Republic as they receive 30 crowns for every vote cast for it if they poll above that threshold.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (ČSSD) said that he was glad that pro-European parties were placed in three top positions in polls, while Andrej Babis, chairman of ANO 2011, said that the movement was now firmly established on the political scene. TOP 09 (15.95%, EPP) can feel relieved seeing they managed to hold onto their Prague stronghold and overall did better than in the last parliamentary elections. The result also confirms their position as the leading political party of the right wing.

18 out of 21 seats were gained by openly pro-EU parties, defying the country’s Eurosceptic reputation.

Within the ruling coalition, these results will likely bolster confidence of Babiš and further weaken the position of Sobotka. As a result, ANO’s commissioner nominee Pavel Telička will have a better chance of being chosen over the ČSSD’s Pavel Mertlík in a political deal.

Merit Government Relations, Prague

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The Social Democrats lost one of their four seats, the Liberal Venstre party lost one of its three seats and the Socialist People’s Party lost one of two seats as the right-wing nationalist Danish People’s Party emerged as the clear winner.

The Danish People’s Party won around 27% of the vote and four seats, and their leading candidate, Morten Messerschmidt, is likely to set a new all-time record with more than 400,000 preference votes. The election was a clear victory for the Eurosceptics.

The Conservatives and the Popular Movement against EU kept one seat each, and the Social Liberals are new in the Parliament with one seat.

Out of Denmark’s 13 members, seven MEPs are likely to return. The most interesting of the six newcomers is a former Minister for Education, Ulla Tørnæs from Venstre (ALDE).

The result was a defeat for the opposition led by Venstre, which has had a clear lead in all polls since the last parliamentary election in 2011 but saw its advantage over the Social Democrats disappear. This change was most likely caused by an ongoing scandal involving the chairman of Venstre. Several members are now demanding the chairman’s resignation and there is speculation that the crisis may tempt the Social Democratic Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, to call an early election.

Rumours that Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Social Democrat) is a candidate to be European commissioner – even a possible President – have been denied, and Morten Bødskov, a former justice minister, is mentioned as a possible nominee to the Commission.

Burson-Marsteller Denmark, Copenhagen

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Turnout was low in Estonia, with only 36.6% of voters casting a ballot.

The results are similar to previous elections, with the Reform Party (two seats) gaining one seat from their ALDE group colleagues in the Centre Party (one seat). Independent candidate Indrek Tarand retained his seat, with the centre-right and the Social Democrats returning one MEP each. The Estonian government coalition parties (Reform Party and Social Democrats) have therefore won one half of the Estonian seats in European Parliament.

The Reform Party MEPs will be former prime minister Andrus Ansip, who left his position in March, and Kaja Kallas (daughter of European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas). The Centre Party MEP will be current MP Yana Toom, who will become the first representative of Estonian Russian-speaking community in European Parliament.

Hamburg and Partners, Tallinn

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The National Coalition Party (EPP) topped the polls in Finland with 22.6% of the vote, winning three seats, including one for Europe minister Alex Stubb. The Centre Party (ALDE) came second with 19.7% of the vote, also winning three seats, including one for European Commissioner Olli Rehn.

Meanwhile the Social Democrats (PES) took two seats, and the Greens, Left and Swedish People’s Party all taking one seat each. The main surprise was that the True Finns (EFD) won only two seats.

Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP), Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE), Liisa Jaakonsaari (PES) and Nils Torvalds (ALDE) were all re-elected, with Stubb taking most preference votes and a fellow National Coalition Party minister, Henna Virkkunen, also winning a seat.

Stubb is also a candidate to be the leader of the National Coalition Party and prime minister (there is a party congress in June). A reshuffle of the government and ministers will happen afterwards.

Pohjoisranta Burson-Marsteller, Helsinki

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The French press and politicians are describing the meteoric rise of the far-right National Front (FN) party, whose electoral success surpassed already high expectations, as a ‘political earthquake’.

With 25 per cent of the vote and 24 MEPs, the FN will send eight times the number of deputies to the European Parliament as it did after the election in 2009.

This result underlines and confirms the all-time low confidence in the two main parties. The right-wing opposition party, UMP, came second with 20% of the vote, giving it 20 MEPs. The ruling Socialist Party (PS) achieved third position, with only 13 MEPs.

The FN’s victory leaves it as the equal-largest Eurosceptic party in the European Parliament and it will now seek the creation of an anti-EU political group in the Parliament. However, this may be a challenge as other parties – such as the UK Independence Party – have expressed unease about the FN’s racist and anti-Semitic leanings, while the FN has refused to ally with extreme-right groups such as Hungary’s Jobbik and Greece’s Golden Dawn.

The electoral backlash may force François Hollande to reconsider his choice of a nominee to the European Commission. The frontrunner, Pierre Moscovici, could be rejected in favour of the fresh face of Elisabeth Guigou.

As the current President of the foreign affairs committee in the French National Assembly, Guigou was not part of the previous government and has argued that she has greater expertise in fields such as energy, environmental diplomacy and climate change.

Burson-Marsteller France, Paris

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Unlike some of the other big countries, Germany saw an election night with much stability but three significant changes.

The pro-European parties of the political centre won a big majority, but for the first time, a German Eurosceptic party (Alternative for Germany – AfD) will enter the European Parliament. The Liberals were nearly wiped out but survived and are on of 14 parties now representing Germany in the European Parliament, sparking fears of a decline in German influence.

On the surface, many outcomes were as expected. Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) clearly remained the strongest party with 35.3% of the vote, even though support fell compared to 2009. These moderate losses came mainly from Bavarian sister party CSU, which ran a rather inconsistent and Euro-critical campaign.

The Social Democrats, with European Socialist lead candidate Martin Schulz at the forefront, had the biggest gains (up 6.5% to 27.3%) and were able to make the huge gap to the CDU/CSU smaller – something that could help Schulz land a role in the next European Commission. The Greens suffered slight losses but became the third biggest party. The Left won 7.4%, roughly the same score it achieved in 2009.

The Liberals could not stop the downward spiral of the last years and suffered severe losses, going from 12 to three seats. The election has been a big success for the AfD, with 7.0% of the vote. It can now potentially change the German party landscape in the longer run as a challenger to CDU/CSU.

With 48.1 percent, turnout was higher than in 2009.

Burson-Marsteller Germany, Berlin

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The main opposition Radical Left Coalition (Syriza) won the election by a margin of nearly four points over the senior coalition government partner New Democracy party in Sunday’s European Parliament elections.

Syriza’s lead over New Democracy is at 3.9%. The lead is clear, but probably not enough to spur major political developments, such as early national elections. In any case, this is a significant development as a party of the radical left came first for the first time.

On an alarming note, the far-right Golden Dawn party has been established as the third political power in Greece. Pasok/Elia (the government coalition partner) performed better than anticipated and should help to ensure the government’s stability in the immediate future.

The newly-established River party (To Potami) achieved a good result, even though its performance was not as good as recent polls anticipated.

In a rather surprising result, Democratic Left failed to enter the European Parliament, something that is expected to spur intra-party developments, while a new round of discussions around the political future of the broader centre-left space is going to begin again.

Advocate Burson-Marsteller, Athens

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Only 28.9% of registered voters turned out in Hungary, the sixth-lowest rate in Europe.

The reason is very likely to be that all forecasts suggested Fidesz – the Hungarian Civic Union (the governing party) would win following its national re-election in April.

There is a significant gap between Fidesz and all the other parties in the results. The Left Alliance, which ran together nationally, entered European elections separately. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) seems to be main loser of the elections, finishing third after the extreme-right Jobbik (Movement for a Better Hungary) party.

The winner in terms of popularity growth is clearly the DK (Democratic Coalition), the new party of the previous Socialist prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. Together 2014 and LMP (Politics Can Be Different) also won a seat each.

Jobbik won 14.7% of the vote – down from 20.3% in the national elections, which will be a source of disappointment for the party.

Now, Hungary prepares for its third election campaign of the year – the local elections in the autumn.

Chapter 4 Communications

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The European elections in Ireland, as throughout Europe, have shown a significant increase in anti-government feeling, with the emergence of protest or far-left MEPs.

The three constituencies in Ireland are still counting votes at the time of writing. After a recount in the Dublin constituency, Nessa Childers (an independent MEP) and Brian Hayes (Fine Gael – EPP) won seats along with the clear winner, Lynn Boylan of Sinn Féin, which could win three seats.

Brian Crowley has been re-elected, but Jim Higgins will not return, and the fates of Mairead McGuinness, Seán Kelly and – with a bigger question mark – Marian Harkin and Pat The Cope Gallagher are still in the balance. Independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, who has led a campaign to legalise cannabis, topped the poll in the Midlands North-West constituency.

While Fine Gael, the senior government coalition partner, suffered significant losses in the local elections, it looks to have a strong chance to retain at least three of its four seats. Like in the UK, the junior coalition partner suffered more severely. Labour lost all of its seats – and its leader, Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore, resigned.

Heneghan PR, Dublin


The centre-left Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, won a landslide victory in the European elections with more than 40% of the votes.

This means it will be the largest national party in the Socialists & Democrats group and, at national level, strengthen the party’s position as well as that of Renzi himself. On Twitter, the Prime Minister said it was A historic result. I’m moved and determined now to work for a country that aims at changing Europe”.

Despite great expectations the Five Star Movement (M5S), led by Beppe Grillo, won only 21 per cent of the vote. This was a poor result considering that the party got around 25 per cent of the vote in last elections.

The centre-right party Forza Italia, headed by Silvio Berlusconi, was weakened by defections and internal divisions and achieved only third place with the 16% of the vote, but easily beat the New Centre-Right, the party led by Angelino Alfano, who formed an alliance with the Union of the Centre headed by Ferdinando Casini.

Unexpectedly, Other Europe with Tsipras, a far-left party backed by the Greek radical left candidate for the European Commission presidency, Alexis Tsipras, crossed the electoral threshold to win three seats.

Despite the not insignificant portion of votes going to Eurosceptic parties like Five Star Movement, the Northern League (Lega Nord, which won five seats) and Fratelli d’Italia, Italians gave strong backing to the PD, a party that had professed its strong European credentials.

Burson-Marsteller Italy, Rome

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The European Parliament elections in Latvia brought few surprises.

The ruling party, Unity, which already had three of Latvia’s eight Latvia seats in the European Parliament, won a fourth, with 48 per cent of the vote. The list was headed by former prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis, who is set to get an important position of some description in Brussels.

The other four seats are divided between four parties: the Farmers Union and Green party (on eight per cent) make their debut in European Parliament, and have announced that they plan to join the ECR Group, although a final decision has not yet been made. National Union (ECR) defended its seat with 14 per cent of the vote, while the Social Democratic party, Harmony, won 13% and will join the S&D Group.

The Latvian Russian Union won six per cent of the vote and is, at the moment, set to rejoin the Greens/EFA Group, despite criticism from group colleagues over the party’s stance regarding Ukraine.

During the election voters used their right to cross out and add plus marks next to candidates’ names: because of that, two parties’ lead candidates failed to get elected. This election was seen as a dress rehearsal before the main event, a parliamentary election in October.

Turnout, at 30 per cent, was at its lowest level in Latvian history.

Mediju Tilts, Riga

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The European Parliament elections in Lithuania took a few unexpected turns and provided intrigue until the last results were counted.

The Social Democrats – which were predicted to win – took only 17.3% of votes and two seats places. The Conservatives (Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats) outscored them on 17.4%, also winning two seats, which the Liberals unexpectedly won 16.5% of the vote and two seats.

Order and Justice, which sits in the EFD Group, won two seats but the Labour Party (ALDE) lost almost half its voters and was left with only one seat. Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and the Lithuanian Peasant and Green Party each took one seat.

Of the 11 MEPs, six were in the previous parliament, and . Between them are 6 former MEPs. Liberal Petras Auštrevičius has a strong pedigree, as he led Lithuanian EU membership negotiations, and will be joined by party colleague and champion poker player Tony G (Antanas Guoga).

This weekend Lithuania also had presidential elections, where Dalia Grybauskaitė was re-elected for a second term. After the Social Democrats failed to win the European elections, it is clear that the President will make changes in the government.

On election night Zigmantas Balčytis was mentioned as one of candidates to be nominee to the European Commission, but the Prime Minister  nominees, but Prime Minister, Algirdas Butkevičius, added that “there are also many other candidates”.

BVRG Burson-Marsteller, Vilnius

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Plus ça change in Luxembourg, as the same party numbers and some of the same faces return to Brussels.

Viviane Reding led the Christian Social People’s Party (CSV) to victory, and will be joined in the European Parliament by current MEPs Georges Bach and Frank Engel. The Socialists, Liberals (Democratic Party – DP) and Greens all took one seat each, with Charles Goerens (DP) and Claude Turmes (Greens) staying in the Parliament.

The Socialists’ score dropped from 21.5% in last year’s national election to 11.8% in this election, but it kept hold of its seat.

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The Labour Party (PL) won 53.3% of first count votes  and the Nationalist Party (PN, centre-right) won only 40.1% in Malta’s European election.

For the first time in decades, the PN scored below 100,000 votes, while it was the third consecutive win for PL in European elections since Malta joined the EU in 2004.  Small parties scored 6.5%. The turnout was one of the highest in the EU, at 74.8%.

Former Prime Minister Dr Alfred Sant (PL) is the only candidate elected in the first count while the sixth Maltese seat is still in balance as it depends on vote transfers inherited from smaller parties. The outcome will probably be known late on Tuesday. Dr Sant, Roberta Metsola (PN), Miriam Dalli (PL), David Casa (PN) and Marlene Mizzi (PL) are expected to win seats. Former journalist Dalli ran in elections for the first time, winning the third-highest number of votes in the first count.

The main feature of this election is the resounding victory for PL. Both the Alternative Demokratika (Greens) and far right Imperium Europa improved their results, with the former in third place and the latter close behind.

During a cabinet reshuffle last March 2014, long-standing Maltese parliamentarian KarmenuVella, who had been minister for public works and industry in the 1980s, and tourism minister in the 1990s and then in 2013, was named as Malta’s nominee for the Commission by the Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat.

BPC International, Valletta

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The Dutch chose Europe over nationalism. The Social Liberals (D66) were the big winner and the Christian Democrats (CDA) the biggest party.

D66 won the most votes and secured four seats, while the CDA became the biggest party (with five seats), due to a voting-count alignment with other smaller Christian parties. The coalition of governing parties – VVD (conservative liberals) and PvdA (social democrats) – remains stable. VVD picked up votes, the PvdA lost some votes, but both parties kept their three seats.

The nationalist and anti-EU PVV (Party for Freedom) lost one seat based on the outgoing Parliament, with four MEPs elected. PVV still won 13% of the vote but its projected win did not happen – something that will be a major disappointment and blow to its leader, Geert Wilders.

Following its representation in the Dutch Parliament since 2006, the Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren) succeeded in winning a seat in the European Parliament for the first time.

A new face among the newly-elected Dutch MEPs is Agnes Jongerius, a former leader of the biggest labour union in the Netherlands.

Current European Commissioner Neelie Kroes (VVD) recently confirmed she will not seek a third term. Frans Timmermans (Minister of Foreign Affairs, PvdA) and Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Finance Minister and chairman for the Eurogroup, PvdA) stand a good chance of becoming the next Dutch European Commissioner.

Burson-Marsteller Netherlands, The Hague

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Results show the opposition Law and Justice party (PiS, part of the ECR group) just in the lead, scoring over 32%, and the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party, members of the EPP, on about 31%, with both securing 19 seats.

In third place is Poland’s post-communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD, part of the Socialist group) with just over 9.5% (five seats). The current junior coalition partner, the Polish Peasant Party (PSL, also part of the EPP), won seven per cent (four seats). The surprise insurgent was the Congress of the New Right (KNP), also with just over seven per cent (four seats). Disappointingly, the turnout was a low 23%.

The vote for the more Euro-cautious PiS gives them four additional MEPs. The result will be disappointing for the PO, as the vote represents a 13% decline in the share of the PO vote from 2009 and a loss of six seats.

The weak showing of the SLD is a blow to its ambitions to be a senior player in national politics, but places it in a good position to be a junior coalition partner after the 2015 elections. Although scoring only seven per cent, the fact that the current junior coalition partner PSL maintained its four seats will be a relief to its leader and current Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechocinski.

The major upset of the campaign was the breakthrough of the New Right Congress (KNP) with 7% of the vote. KNP espouses a combination of isolationist nationalism, anti-EU sentiment and a libertarian economic philosophy, with a liberal sprinkling of undisguised misogynist and general political incorrectness.

CEC Government Relations, Warsaw

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As predicted, given the austerity measures implemented by the Portuguese government over the last three years, the main opposition Socialist Party won the European elections.

Nonetheless, it was a narrow victory, with 31.5% of the vote, over the Portugal Alliance that had been set up by the two main centre-right parties (PSD and CDS-PP). This alliance won 27.7% of the vote.

The Communists came third with 12.7% of the vote thanks to an anti-European campaign focused on Portugal’s exit from the euro area.

Surprisingly, the centre-right Earth Party (Movimento Partido da Terra) won a seat. Due to his high profile and populist discourse,  the former leader of the Portuguese lawyers’ association, Marinho Pinto, went from 0.7% in the previous elections to 7.2% in this one.

The biggest loser was the Left Bloc (BE), which won 4.6% of the vote and elected only one MEP, two down from 2009.

Probable Portuguese nominees to be commissioner are Miguel Poiares Maduro (currently Minister for Regional Development) and Luis Amado, a former foreign minister in the government led by Socialist José Sócrates. Given the results of the election, Amado’s name seems more likely to generate the desired national consensus.

The defeat of the Portugal Alliance coalition will cause some concern in the government, since it questions the coalition for the 2015 national legislative elections.

Young & Rubicam Public Relations, Lisbon

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The latest official partial results of the Romanian election for the European Parliament show a clear win for the centre-left-wing Social-Democrat Party Alliance, with 37.6% of the vote.

The National Liberal Party (PNL) won 15% of the total number of votes, while the Democrat-Liberal Party (PDL – EPP) won 12.2% of Romanians’ votes.

Thus, PSD won six percentage points more votes than five years ago, while PDL was down 17 points. Although aiming to surpass the 20% threshold, the Liberals managed to only obtain the same number of votes as they did back in 2009. As an immediate result, Crin Antonescu, the President of PNL, as well as Klaus Johannis, the party’s Vice President, resigned from their positions.

The complete surprise of these elections was Mircea Diaconu, a former actor and theatre manager who initially wasn’t allowed to participate to the elections as a PNL candidate by the Central Elections Bureau, but won the appeal in the court of law. As an independent, he took fourth place, with a total of 6.8% of the votes, surpassing the local Hungarian minority party (UDMR), which had 6.3% of the votes. The Popular Movement Party (PMP), a new centre-right party, won 6.2%.

PNL, once an ally to PSD, turned down the winning party’s offer to form a new alliance. Instead, they announced a decision by the party’s National Political Bureau to join the EPP (it is currently in ALDE). At the same time, Lucian Blaga, PDL’s leader, expressed the party’s willingness to partner with PNL for the upcoming presidential elections, should the PNL agree.

Chapter 4 Communications

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Only 13.1% of Slovak voters cast their ballot in the elections to the European Parliament, remaining true to the country’s reputation of posting low turnouts since joining the EU in 2004.

Reasons may include election weariness, as Slovakia saw two rounds of presidential elections only two months ago, but also the generally negative tone of some candidates.

The ruling Social Democrats. Smer, received the highest number of votes in the election, but Prime Minister Robert Fico’s party failed to defend its five seats. The party will send EU commissioner Maroš Šefčovič, Monika Flašíková Beňová, Boris Zala and Vladimír Maňka to Brussels, with Šefčovič likely to return to the Commission.

The Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) won 13.2%, sending two deputies, Anna Záborská and Miroslav Mikolášik, to the Parliament. The Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) got 7.8%, sending Ivan Štefanec and Eduard Kukan to the Parliament. There will be six EPP MEPs in total, with  the Party of the Hungarian Community (SMK) winning a seat for Pál Csáky and Most-Híd taking one for József Nagy.

Three other parties will have one seat each. The Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) will send Branislav Škripek to the Parliament, and he will probably sit in the ECR Group. The coalition of NOVA, the Conservative Democrats of Slovakia (KDS) and the Civil Conservative Party (OKS) won a seat for Jana Žitňanská, and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) picked up 6.7% for Richard Sulík.

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The preliminary official results of the vote in Slovenia have confirmed the expected victory of the centre-right. EPP Group parties won five seats out of the eight available.

The Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) won 24.9% to take three seats, with Milan Zver, Romana Tomc and Patricija Šulin elected, while the New Slovenia (NSi) and People’s Party (SLS) joint list won 16.5%. Lojze Peterle and Franc Bogovič were elected.

Left-wing forces have been hit by fragmentation. The independent newcomer Igor Šoltes, a former audit court president won 10.5% of the vote, and the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) list, led by Ivo Vajgl (who was elected as an MEP for Zares in 2009), also took a seat. Zares failed to win represenation. The only S&D Group seat will be taken by Tanja Fajon, one of the party’s two current MEPs.

Positive Slovenia (PS), which was the senior coalition partner in the national governent until the recent split in parliament, took only 6.6% and ended up not winning any seats. The final turnout was at 24.08%, the lowest to date in elections in Slovenia.

Slovenia’s prime minister Alenka Bratušek announced her resignation at the beginning of May. The date of the new parliamentary elections is not settled yet.

Chapter 4 Communications

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The People’s Party won the elections in Spain with 16 MEPs, followed by the Socialist Party, with 14 MEPs, but both mainstream parties lost a lot of ground to other minor parties.

For the first time in history the traditional main parties, which have dominated Spanish politics for more than three decades, did not achieve 50% of the votes. In fact, their combined share of the vote has fallen from about 80% in 2009 to 49%. The defeat of the Socialists has led to the resignation of the party’s leader, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.

The fall of the major parties was due to both a high level of abstention (over 50%, as in previous European elections) and the rise of smaller parties. The Plural Left, a coalition that includes United Left (traditionally the third political force), added four seats for a total of six. Also from the left, a big surprise came with Podemos (We Can), a new party that has capitalised on the ‘indignant’ movement that took over Spanish plazas three years ago to protest against economic inequality.

Created four months ago, Podemos is now the third party in five regions, including Madrid, and has secured five seats in European Parliament. According to its leader’s statements, Podemos will support Alexis Tsipras’ bid to be President of the European Commission. Another small party, the centrist Union, Progress and Democracy party won four seats, up from one.

Unlike the rest of the country and even the European Union, participation in Catalonia increased from 36.9% in 2009 to 47.4% in 2014. After a pro-independence campaign, the Republican Left of Catalonia is now the most supported party (23.7%), followed by Convergence and Union coalition, which governs Catalonia and got 21.9% of the region’s vote.

Burson-Marsteller Spain, Madrid

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The winners in Sweden were the Green Party (MP), the Feminist Initiative (F!) and the nationalist Sweden Democrats (SD), while the largest party in the current reigning coalition, the Moderate Party (M), had a major setback, losing one seat.

The Social Democrats (S) came in exactly at the same level as in 2009, which was then all-time low. Both F! and SD will enter the parliament for the first time with one and two seats respectively.

In essence, the election was a success for Eurosceptic parties, since the two most EU-friendly parties (M and the Liberal party, FP) each lost one seat.

The outcome indicates a historic shift in power, breaking up the traditional left/right wing politics, something that may affect the national elections coming up in September. Also, among first-time voters MP and F! were top, leaving traditional leaders of Swedish politics, S and M, with something to think about for the future.

As for individual candidates, Lars Adaktusson, a former TV-journalist and now top name for the Christian Democrats (KD), lifted the numbers for KD above expectations, keeping their seat.

Regarding European Commission nominee, the current government has not expressed its intention to replace Cecilia Malmström. However, a new candidate may emerge after the national elections, assuming the opposition parties wins.

Around 49% of Swedes voted, compared to 45.5% in 2009.

Burson-Marsteller Sweden, Stockholm

United Kingdom
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The ‘tremors’ felt in Thursday’s local elections brought a seismic shift by Sunday night as the UK Independence Party almost doubled its score from 2009, finishing first in most English regions and winning a seat in Scotland.

The result was a firm rebuke to the three main parties and an indication of Eurosceptic sentiment in the UK. The Conservatives won 19 seats, meaning than more than half of the vote in the UK went to parties seeking an in-out referendum on EU membership at some point in the next three years.

Labour finished second but only just edged past the Conservatives in a worrying sign for the party’s leader, Ed Miliband, who could expect better results four years into a five-year parliament. Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats won just one seat – Catherine Bearder taking a spot in the South-East, piling pressure on the party’s leader, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

In Scotland, the Scottish National Party – keen to portray Ukip as an English phenomenon and make EU issues a dividing line in the campaign ahead of the Scottish independence referendum in September – failed to win a third seat, with Ukip gaining its first-ever representation north of the border.

David Cameron, Britain’s Prime Minister, will now feel increased pressure to offer a profound renegotiation of the UK’s position in the European Union, fearing that support for Ukip could damage his plans for victory in 2015 and a second term in office.

Cameron will also be pressured to nominate a hardliner to the European Commission, but Andrew Lansley, Leader of the House of Commons, looks to be the favourite, and someone who could be acceptable to the new Commission President and MEPs. Martin Callanan – the ECR Group leader who lost his seat in the election – has also been mentioned as a possible nominee.