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The Rise of Far-Right Parties in the 2024 European Parliament Elections

The 2024 European Parliament elections have brought significant shifts in the political landscape, with the rapid rise of far-right parties reshaping the dynamics of European politics. The results, particularly in countries like France and Germany, have set the stage for crucial changes in the region’s political scene. French President Macron’s decision to dissolve the National Assembly and German Chancellor Scholz’s political challenges underscore the impact of these elections on the future direction of Europe.

The surge of far-right parties in the European Parliament reflects a growing trend towards nationalist and populist sentiments across the continent. The performance of parties like the National Rally in France and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) highlights the changing political currents in Europe, with implications for the European Union’s future development and policy direction.

In France, the defeat of the Renaissance Party and Macron’s move to dissolve the National Assembly indicate a major political shake-up that could reshape the country’s governance. Similarly, in Germany, the Social Democratic Party’s poor showing and Chancellor Scholz’s political struggles signal a period of uncertainty and transition in German politics.

The unexpected results of the Belgian elections, with the New Flemish Alliance leading and the Dutch-speaking Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats facing defeat, further add to the political intrigue in the region. These outcomes reflect a broader trend of political realignment and shifting allegiances in European politics.

The aftermath of the elections has reverberated across financial markets, with the Euro and European stocks experiencing a downturn in response to the political uncertainties. Investors are closely monitoring the developments in Europe, as the election outcomes have the potential to impact legislative processes, EU integration efforts, and overall market stability in the region.

The 2024 European Parliament elections mark a critical juncture in European politics, signaling a period of change and transition that could shape the future trajectory of the continent. As far-right parties gain momentum and traditional political forces face challenges, the outcomes of these elections have far-reaching implications for the political landscape of Europe and the direction of EU policies in the years to come.

A “black swan” appears in European politics.

On June 9, local time, the five-year European Parliament election ended. Preliminary election results showed that far-right parties are rapidly rising in the European Parliament.

Among them, the French ruling party Ennahda suffered a disastrous defeat, and its support rate was far lower than that of the far-right National Alliance. French President Macron announced the dissolution of the National Assembly and held an early French parliamentary election; in Germany, the Associated Press commented that German Prime Minister Scholz experienced It was a “painful night” because the Social Democratic Party led by him achieved the worst results in history; the Dutch-speaking Open Democratic Party of Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo failed in the “three-in-one” election of federal, regional and European Parliament elections. After losing the election, the right-wing New Flemish Union party topped the vote and is expected to become the largest party in the Belgian parliament.

Analysts pointed out that the “rightward turn” in the election results will complicate the EU’s efforts to promote the passage of new bills or strengthen European integration. The EU’s existing policies such as green transformation, aid to Ukraine and resistance to Russia may also be loosened.

Reflecting on the capital market level, the exchange rate and stock market both plummeted. The euro fell against most G10 currencies. The euro-dollar exchange rate fell 0.45% to 1.0751, falling to a new low in a month; the euro-sterling fell 0.4% on the day, as low as 0.8453, the lowest level since August 2022. At the same time, European stocks generally fell after the opening. The European Stoxx 50 index fell by 1.1%, the French CAC40 index fell by 2.2%, the British FTSE 100 index fell by 0.7%, the Italian FTSE MIB index fell by 0.67%, and the German DAX index fell by 0.58%. , Spain’s IBEX35 index fell 1%. 

Macron announced

The five-year European Parliament election will be held from June 6 to 9, local time. Most EU member states, including France, will vote on the 9th. French voters will vote for 81 European Parliament members representing France. The number is second only to Germany’s 96 seats.

According to a Reuters report on June 9, due to the disastrous defeat of the French ruling party Ennahda in the European Parliament elections that ended that day, and its support rate was far lower than that of the far-right National Alliance, French President Macron announced the dissolution of the National Assembly on the evening of the 9th, ahead of schedule. French parliamentary elections are held. This is the first time since 1997 that a French president has dissolved the National Assembly early.

The latest exit poll results released by French media showed that the far-right National Rally received about 31.5% of the votes, ranking first among French political parties. Macron’s ruling Ennahda Party suffered a disastrous defeat, ranking second with only 14.6% of the vote.

Marine Le Pen, chairwoman of France’s far-right National Rally party, responded immediately by welcoming Macron’s decision and saying her party was ready to govern after the results of the parliamentary elections called by Macron.

According to reports, after congratulating Bardera on the electoral results achieved by the National Union Party, Le Pen said in front of his party supporters that the party was ready for new parliamentary elections and declared that if he won the trust of the French, he would Be prepared to exercise power.

Le Pen said she had been beaten by Macron in the last two presidential elections. “We are ready to exercise our power if the French people trust us in future legislative elections. We are ready to turn the country around, ready to defend French interests, ready to end mass immigration, ready to put the purchasing power of French people in the first place.”

Macron said that the first round of voting in the National Assembly election will be held on June 30, and the second round of voting will be held on July 7. 

European mutation

 The election results show that major changes are taking place in European politics.

At the same time, there were unexpected surprises in the Belgian general election. On the evening of June 9, local time, preliminary vote counting results showed that the Dutch-speaking Open Liberal Democratic Party (OPEN VLD) of Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo lost in the “three-in-one” election of federal, regional, and European parliaments. The New Flemish Alliance Party (N-VA) ranked first in the vote, with the Flemish Interest Party in second place.

The British “Guardian” quoted the results published on the website of the Belgian Ministry of Interior as reporting that among more than 90% of the votes that had been counted, the right-wing party New Flemish Alliance Party won the vote ahead of the far-right party Flemish Interest Party and is expected to become The largest party in the Belgian Parliament. The Dutch-speaking Liberal Democratic Party fell to ninth place.

Later in the evening, De Croo announced he would resign. He told his supporters, “This is a particularly difficult night for us, and the signal sent by the voters has been clear.” According to reports, De Croo choked up when he announced his resignation, and after he finished speaking, he also used He wiped the tears from his eyes with his hand.

In this European Parliament election, right-wing parties in many EU member states performed strongly, with support rates increasing to varying degrees.

The Associated Press said that in Germany, the most populous among the 27 EU countries, the support rate of the Alternative for Germany reached a record 16.5%, an increase of more than 5 percentage points from 2019. In contrast, the combined support rate of the three parties in Germany’s traffic light ruling coalition is just over 30%.

If counted as a single party, the Alternative for Germany has never been the largest party in Germany. Analysts pointed out that the German political arena may undergo a sudden change, and they do not rule out the possibility that the Alternative for the Party will participate in the government (more likely to be a coalition government), and the Traffic Light Alliance will bow down and step down.

The Associated Press commented that German Chancellor Scholz experienced “a painful night” because the Social Democratic Party led by him achieved the worst results in history.

In this election, the center-right European People’s Party’s seats increased from 176 to 189 seats, an increase of 13 seats, maintaining its position as the first party; the center-left Social Democratic Party gained 135 seats, a decrease of 4 seats; the European Renewal Party gained 83 seats, a decrease of 19 seats, losing nearly one-fifth of the seats; the Green Party gained 53 seats, a decrease of 18 seats, and the Left Alliance group gained 36 seats. CNN said that far-right parties are expected to win 150 of the 720 seats in the European Parliament. 

How big is the impact?

Macron said in a televised speech that the results of the European Parliament elections were “not good news for the parties that defend Europe.”

The European Parliament is one of the three major institutions of the European Union. It is the only institution in the EU that is directly elected by voters. The number of seats among the 27 EU member states is allocated based on the country’s population. The EU’s immigration, energy, climate change and other policy bills need to be voted on by the European Parliament, which also participates in approving the EU’s annual budget.

The EU elections come at a time when voters’ confidence in the bloc of about 450 million people is being tested. The Associated Press commented that this European Parliament election is a major test of the confidence of EU voters. In the past five years, the EU has suffered a series of shocks such as the COVID-19 epidemic, economic recession and energy crisis. A “rightward shift” in election results could hamper EU decision-making by making it more difficult to pass legislation.

Analysts pointed out that the “rightward turn” in the election results will complicate the EU’s efforts to promote the passage of new bills or strengthen European integration. The EU’s existing policies such as green transformation, aid to Ukraine and resistance to Russia may also be loosened.

Reflecting on the market level, the euro fell against most G10 currencies as investors weighed the impact of the European Parliament elections and the dollar gained. Among them, the euro-dollar exchange rate fell 0.45% to 1.0751, the lowest in a month.

Speaking about the European elections, OCBC Bank strategist Christopher Wong said that online, election risks remain uncertain. It deserves close attention because the past decade has shown that a rise in far-right sentiment in Europe could weaken the euro.

Just now, European stocks opened with a general decline, with the European Stoxx 50 index falling by 1.1%, the French CAC40 index falling by 2.2%, the British FTSE 100 index falling by 0.7%, the Italian FTSE MIB index falling by 0.67%, and the German DAX index falling by 0.58%. Spain’s IBEX35 index fell 0.29%.

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