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Analysis: Centre holds in European Parliament elections, but will it be enough?


Pro-European parties still hold a comfortable majority, according to data released after polls closed in EU elections – but key votes to approve a new executive could still be tight.

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Pro-European parties are still likely to hold a significant majority in the European Parliament, but that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing ahead for Presidential hopeful Ursula von der Leyen.

Data released after polls closed on Sunday (9 June) show there could be a total 462 MEPs from the key coalition of four centrist parties. 

That represents a healthy majority, over 64%, of the legislature that will deliberate on EU law for the next five years.

But a major test could come within weeks, since MEPs need to approve candidates to lead the European Commission – for which incumbent von der Leyen is the most likely option.

While the European Parliament doesn’t have formal coalition deals as such, von der Leyen has relied on lawmakers from the Greens, Liberals and Socialists, as well as her own centre-right European People’s Party, since she sought appointment for her first term in 2019.

Even then, she only squeaked through by seven votes, with just 383 voting in favour of her candidacy in a secret ballot of lawmakers.  

Now, with Greens and Liberals losing 20 MEPs apiece, it will be still harder to find a magic winning number.

There may be reasons for von der Leyen to still be optimistic.  

One is a strong performance by her own EPP, which according to the latest data could boast over one quarter of the chamber – or even more, if they’re joined by further newcomers.

The poor 2019 result may in part have been due to lawmakers’ ire that she hadn’t sought their formal support from any political group – something she rectified this time round by going on the campaign trail as EPP lead candidate.  

She might even seek support from further afield – though her attempts to court Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party may in turn alienate her support from the left.  

All eyes will be on Brussels and Strasbourg in the coming weeks after the electoral arithmetic becomes clearer – and on whether von der Leyen can pass her next major hurdle.



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