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WorldFar-right nationalist parties seek center stage in EU parliament elections

17:01  23 may  2019
17:01  23 may  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Europe’s far right says it is united. But can ultranationalists find a way to work across borders?

Europe’s far right says it is united. But can ultranationalists find a way to work across borders? The European Union is a top target for their anger, but a rally in Milan was all about plans to get deeper into the E.U. bureaucracy.

EU citizens will elect a new European Parliament in elections in May. With 7 days until voting begins, polls suggest the centre - right European Peoples' Party and centre -left Socialists & Democrats are likely to remain the largest groups in parliament , but are likely to lose their combined majority for

European national parliaments with representatives from right -wing populist parties in May 2019 Most, if not all, nationalist parties represented in the European Parliament are in the Europe of Slovenia held its Parliamentary Elections to the National Assembly of Slovenia on 3 June 2018


Supporters and leaders of Europe’s far-right parties gathered for Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s international alliance of European Nationalist parties last Sunday, hoping to unite Europe’s top nationalist parties and their voters in advance of the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Marine le Pen of the National Rally (formerly known as National Front) was in attendance, as was Germany’s Jörg Meuthen, leader of the German far-right party Alternative for Deutschland (AfD). Yet Europe's populist party -- Austria’s Freedom Party -- was notably missing.

European Elections: How the System Works and Why It Matters

European Elections: How the System Works and Why It Matters Citizens in the 28 European Union nations will go to the polls this week in an atmosphere of uncertainty — with the specter of Brexit looming over the process and a growing nationalist, euroskeptic movement drawing voter support — to cast ballots for the bloc’s only directly elected body: the European Parliament. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The European government is complex by design, a fact that can perplex voters and vote-watchers alike, often resulting in a low turnout. But this time is different.

The European Parliament elections that start Thursday have never been so hotly anticipated, with many Europe 's far - right and nationalist parties hope to emulate what President Donald Trump did in the 2016 U.S. election and what Brexiteers achieved in the U.K. referendum to leave the EU .

With European elections weeks away, nationalist and far - right parties across Europe are AfD is also a Eurosceptic party and Nigel Farage, who has returned to the political stage to lead the His former party , UKIP, came top in European Parliament elections in the UK in 2014, but the Brexit

One day earlier, a video obtained by Germany’s Der Spiegel revealed the far-right party’s leader Hans Christian-Strache offering government contracts to a woman posing as a Russian investor during a booze-filled evening on the Spanish party island of Ibiza. The response was swift, with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz ousting the anti-immigration party from the country’s ruling coalition and calling for snap elections just days before the FPO hoped to have a strong showing in EU elections.

Meanwhile, in Italy, tensions have been mounting between Italy’s governing coalition made up of Salvini’s far-right League and the left-wing Five Star Movement, fueling speculation that a government reshuffle will soon be in the cards.

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The next election to the European Parliament is being held between 23 and 26 May 2019 and will be the ninth parliamentary election since the first direct elections in 1979.

Far - right politics are politics further on the right of the left-right spectrum than the standard political In addition to the registered political parties , there is a host of nationalist , far right or neo-Nazi Security Narratives and Far - Right Violence in Europe (International Centre for Counter-Terrorism

Far-right nationalist parties seek center stage in EU parliament elections© Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (C) gestures on stage during a rally of European nationalists ahead of European elections on May 18, 2019, in Milan.

If far-right parties can’t get along with their coalition partners, the likelihood that they will unify in the European parliament hardly seems promising.

Yet such internal upheavals may not have much of an effect on nationalist party voters who in recent years have been lured away from establishment parties and toward Euroscepticism and limits on immigration, particularly since the bloc saw an influx of migrants from the Middle East in 2015. According to the latest poll by the European Council on Foreign Relations, anti-European parties could become the second-largest group in the parliament, holding up to 35% of seats.

England’s Brexit party, headed by Nigel Farage, is expected to win 34% of U.K. votes, according to the latest Europe Elects’ poll, despite lacking a substantial political program outside of pushing for Brexit by any means necessary. Poised to take a substantial lead over traditional parties such as the Liberal Democrats and Teresa May’s conservatives, the Brexit party’s strong position can be explained by “the crumbling of traditional party loyalties, especially for the long-established Conservative party that has dominated the political scene for 150 years,” Tony Travers, professor of public policy at the London School of Economics, told ABC News.

Divided Britain heads to the polls for EU elections it was not meant to hold

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Far - right parties look to form alliance for EU parliamentary elections . Matteo Salvini, in particular, has attempted to emerge as a dominant figure among far - right nationalists in Europe , aiming to bring together disparate nationalist parties under an umbrella.

Political parties with similar ideals should come together in the European Parliament elections to stand against far - right parties and eventually "Just like efforts of far - right groups to make alliances, we should come together with other parties in EU countries that think in the same way as us and

Far-right nationalist parties seek center stage in EU parliament elections© Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) attend a session in the hemicycle at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, March 12, 2019.

(MORE: Austria's headscarf ban sensationalizes a marginal issue, Muslim groups say)

The European Union Parliament is responsible for passing EU laws, establishing EU budgets and examining EU institutions. Members of parliament are elected to five-year terms.

MPs join blocks based on their political affiliation, not the country that they hail from. Currently center-left and center-right blocks have formed a majority coalition. Although only the European Union Commission can propose laws, the parliament is responsible for changing or amending them, which means a strong showing of Eurosceptic politicians could theoretically slow down lawmaking.

If elected, some MPs aim to take powers away from the European Commission and put them back into the hands of the parliament.

“It is Macron’s Europe. We want the power to be given back to the people, to the European legislators, i.e. the European Parliament,” Marie Dauchy, one of National Rally Party's 79 candidates, told ABC News.

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Five key figures in the European elections As the clock counts down to the European Parliament elections that start Thursday, here are five key figures in the battle, from arch-eurosceptic Nigel Farage to French President Emmanuel Macron. © Tolga Akmen Nicknamed "Mr Brexit", veteran eurosceptic Nigel Farage (pictured May 21, 2019) has been an MEP since 1999 - Farage, veteran eurosceptic - Nicknamed "Mr Brexit" by his friend Donald Trump, veteran eurosceptic Nigel Farage, 55, has been an MEP since 1999, first for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), then as an independent and latterly for his new Brexit Party.

The Nationalist Party (Maltese: Partit Nazzjonalista, PN) is a Christian-democratic, conservative political party in Malta. It is one of two major contemporary political parties in Malta

Europe ’s far - right and nationalist parties hope to emulate what President Donald Trump did in the 2016 U.S. election and what Women draped in European Union flags attend the pro- Europe demonstration ‘One Europe for all – your voice against nationalism ’ a week before European

To appeal to voters, the nationalist party is now pushing for a reform of EU institutions instead of leaving the union altogether.

Far-right nationalist parties seek center stage in EU parliament elections© Hans Punz/AFP/Getty Images Austria's Vice-Chancellor and chairman of the Freedom Party FPOe Heinz-Christian Strache gives a press conference in Vienna, May 18, 2019, after the publication of the "Ibiza - Video" regarding Strache.

Yet, as Austria’s political scandal shows, far-right parties currently in power around Europe stand on shaky ground. Populism is “volatile and prone to instability,” said Marcus How, head of research and analysis at Vienna-based political consultancy ViennEast.

“The 2014 EU election was also touted as a populist wave but it didn’t really add up to very much, not least because many of the far-right parties were simply unable to form alliances with one another,” he said.

Despite the wins, their legislative power in parliament would be limited, meaning their influence is likely to be more “symbolic” than practical, How noted.

The real danger comes when center-right parties band together with their far-right counterparts to form coalitions. How cited the Austrian national elections in 2017 which brought a far-right party to the helm of the country.

“If the center right needs to court the populists and move away from the liberal consensus that's always been a worrying indicator,” he said.

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Capri Cafaro: 'Trumpification' is happening across Europe, and it spells trouble.
In just a few short days, President Trump returns to the U.K. almost exactly three years after the British people voted to exit the European Union.  At the time, there was widespread speculation that a pro-Brexit victory along with a Trump win in the United States would signal a political sea change in Western democracies. I think it is safe to say that there seems to be a “Trumpification” happening across Europe, and it spells trouble. Populism, isolationism, and division are on the rise across Europe. Traditional political parties are on the decline, while turmoil is brewing both in the U.K.

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