European elections 2019: What we know so far

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Latest results indicate a decline in support for centre-right and centre-left parties in the European elections, with some of the votes going to green, liberal and far-right parties instead.

Germany’s Green Party doubled its share of the vote

Turnout was higher than expected, with some observers suggesting this was due to more young people voting.

In 2014 the centre-right and centre-left had more than half the seats in the European Parliament – but this is set to change.

1. Centre falls away

In Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrats got 28% of the vote – their worst-ever performance in European elections. Meanwhile the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) also did poorly, coming third with 16%.

In the European Parliament in Strasbourg, they provide MEPs to the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) respectively.

The EPP and S&D have always held more than half of the seats between them.

But official projections based on exit polls now say the EPP and S&D could lose about 92 seats, bringing their share of down to 42.6% – a drop of more than 12%.

However another centrist grouping, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), is set to increase its share to 102 seats from 67 in 2014. French President Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche is set to join the group and it could play a kingmaker role.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party beat French President Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche

Outgoing ALDE group leader Guy Verhofstadt hailed a “historical moment” because of what he said was a “new balance of power”.

2. Green wave

In Germany the Green party more than doubled its vote share to come second with 22%.

The BBC’s Jenny Hill in Berlin says the Green party captured the zeitgeist while the other parties have struggled to put together a coherent environmental policy.

Our correspondent says about a third of those under the age of 30 voted Green. In the run-up to the vote 90 influential YouTubers urged followers to vote for parties that took climate issues seriously. They told voters to avoid the AfD, which they said denied climate change was even happening.

German YouTubers including Rezo, seen on a placard at this protest, had called for people to vote for parties that took climate change seriously

In France, green group Europe Écologie Les Verts (EELV) is on course to come third with 13.2%. Both Mrs Le Pen and Mr Macron have emphasised their green credentials. Mr Macron wants to shift to green technology and energy while Mrs Le Pen said her brand of localism was good for the environment.

In Ireland, early exit polls give the Green party 15%.

3. Mixed picture for nationalist right

In France Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party – formerly the National Front – is heading for first place with 23.4% of the vote, narrowly ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist grouping, which got 22.4%.

Turnout was reportedly high in areas where her party has previously done well and also in areas where support for the anti-government “gilets jaunes” (yellow-vest) movement is strong. Mrs Le Pen has changed her position on EU membership, saying she now wants to stay in the bloc.

In Germany the far-right AfD is predicted to get under 11%, up from 7.1% in 2014. In the Netherlands the Forum for Democracy and the Freedom Party of Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders together won nearly 16%, but Mr Wilders’ party has seen a steep decline.

In the UK, which voted on Thursday, Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party is expected to do well

Results in Spain give new far-right Vox party getting only 6.2% of the vote, down from the 10.3% it achieved in Spain’s national election.

In the UK a new anti-EU party, the Brexit Party is heading for victory at the expense of the Conservative Party, while pro-EU Liberal Democrats are taking votes from the traditionally centre-left Labour party.

Far-right and Eurosceptic parties are currently split between three groupings in the European Parliament – the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the two far-right groupings Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) and Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF).

However, Matteo Salvini, whose right-wing nationalist League party is predicted to win the Italian vote, is hoping to found a new grouping, the European Alliance for People and Nations, with the support of several parties.

What happened where?

Austria

The ruling People’s Party (ÖVP) has won with a record 34.9%, despite a scandal that has led to the collapse of its coalition government with the far right. ÖVP leader Sebastian Kurz is facing a no-confidence vote on Monday which could put him out of a job.

The far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) – which quit the government after its leader Heinz-Christian Strache was exposed in a video sting – does not appear to have been that badly affected by the scandal. It came in third place with 17.5% of the vote, down only slightly from 2014.

Belgium

Far-right Flemish party Vlaams Belang got 4.3% in the European election – but won a much larger 14% of the vote in the country’s federal election, held at the same time.

Croatia

Initial results give the governing HDZ four of the 12 available seats. The centre-left SDP party gets 18.5%, seen as a disappointing result.

Finland

The Finnish Green party (VIHR) won 15.9% of the vote, coming behind the centre-right KOK party with 20.7% but ahead of the centre-left SDP with 14.7%.

Greece

It’s been a bad night for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s left-wing Syriza party which has been beaten by opposition conservative New Democracy party. First official projections give New Democracy a nine-point lead.

Mr Tsipras has said he will call snap elections, which may take place at the end of June.

New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has called on Mr Tsipras to resign.

Ireland

The centre-right Fine Gael party of Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is heading for a big victory, exit polls suggest. But Ireland’s electoral system means the results will take some time to come through.

Netherlands

The Dutch Labour party has won, as expected, with 18% of the vote. It’s a dramatic victory for Labour, who have been celebrating “an unexpected comeback”.

Portugal

Green party PAN is set to enter the European Parliament. No pollster or projection had predicted this.

(BBC News)


I woke up as any other person would, stretched and yawned as I hoped for a beautiful day. Typically, I turned on the Television and heard that some people had been killed in Taraba, next thing I heard was that a reverend father had also been killed and his body burnt at the same time. I felt that was enough until I heard that a woman head had been squashed with a grinding stone and a handkerchief had been used to retrieve her blood. I was irritated already but thought that it was a normal thing to happen in Nigeria, a country that has leaders that are unresponsive to the plight of its citizens. I surmised that if I was abroad, these things could not have happened. Then I went on Instagram and I knew I was wrong. I saw the video of a Nigerian in south Africa, a human being burning to death and a policeman laughing in the background. Then the tears dropped. How can I not be safe at home and abroad too?
Normally, one would have thought that being abroad, safety would be secured as compared to Nigeria that is ridden with insecurity. However, that thought turned out to be erroneous as the gory images of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa flashed through my eyes. What has caused this?
For some, the major cause of this is because of our dented image. They believe that because Nigeria’s image has been dented on the international scene, this has caused every country around the world including South Africa to see us as nonentities that do not matter. The question one needs to ask oneself is, is this enough justification for killing Nigerians? For a black man to kill a black man? For citizens of South Africa, who Nigeria led the fight for their freedom from Apartheid to now turn on us and kill us? Totally impossible!
For some, their argument is that the South Africans have been secretly nursing hatred against Nigerians. I stand to ask, are we not first humanity before we became white or black? This excuse is totally unfounded and misinformed
Though unfortunate, some people celebrities have uttered inciteful statements that suggest that Nigerians should return to their country. These comments are rather dividing than uniting. At this crucial period, comments that will speak of unified efforts to move against xenophobia are needed, not divisive and inciteful comments
However, painful, the government of Nigeria, who are supposed to take stringent measures to stop this attack have only said they will send an emissary to the government of South Africa who will arrive there latest Thursday. By Thursday, would more havoc not have been wreaked?
As this crucial time, as a nation, we have to arise, not by giving an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but by speaking out loud, taking actions and implementing those actions against Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. They are our brothers, sisters, daughters, fathers, and mothers. They do not deserve die like animals. They have gone to sojourn in a foreign land, to source for their daily bread. Their dead bodies are not what we need back home. We need safety both home and abroad, we do not need black to kill and maim blacks. We say no to xenophobia.

The United Kingdom warns British nationals against travelling to about 21 states in Nigeria

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Specifically, the FCO advised against all travels to Borno; Yobe; Adamawa; Gombe; and the riverine areas of Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.

The British government also cautioned against trips to within 20km of the border with Niger and Zamfara states.

The FCO further advised against all but essential travel to Bauchi, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Kogi and within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi states including the non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Abia States.

The advisory admonished British nationals to avoid crowds including political meetings, religious gatherings and places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, transport hubs and camps for displaced persons.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests as well as places visited by tourists. Besides Abuja, other major towns and cities remain particularly at risk, including Kano and Kaduna,” it stated.

The FCO noted that there was a high threat of kidnap throughout the country, adding that abductions could be motivated by criminality or terrorism, and could be carried out for financial or political gain.

It stated, “The security environment in the northeast has deteriorated since 2018 and there is a heightened risk of kidnap.

“There is also a high threat of criminal kidnap in the Niger Delta region and Kogi State. If you travel to areas to which the FCO advise against travel, you are particularly at risk and will need a high level of security.”

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