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Germany’s Centre-Right CDU/CSU Wins EU Elections; Far-Right AfD Surges to Second Place

2 weeks ago
Germany’s Centre-Right

Germany’s centre-right CDU/CSU alliance emerged victorious in the European Parliament elections, the national electoral authority confirmed early Monday after final votes were tallied.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) followed closely in second place, signaling a significant shift in the country’s political landscape.


CDU/CSU Secures Dominance

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), collectively secured 30% of the vote, translating to 29 seats in the European Parliament. This result mirrors their previous performance, maintaining their current seat count.

Despite being in opposition domestically, the CDU/CSU reinforced their strength on the European stage, underscoring their continued relevance in German politics.


Surge of the Far-Right AfD

The AfD made significant gains, capturing 15.9% of the vote, up from 11% in the 2019 elections, which earned them 15 seats. This leap places them ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), which recorded a 13.9% (14 seats)—their worst showing in a nationwide democratic election in over a century.

The results indicate towards a growing acceptance of the AfD’s anti-immigrant, euro-skeptic platform among German voters.


Decline of the Greens and SPD

The Greens experienced a notable decline, dropping to 11.9% (12 seats) from 20.5% in 2019. The business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) captured 5.2% (five seats), while the newly founded Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW) secured 6.2% (six seats).

The far-left The Left party plummeted to 2.7% (three seats), reflecting a broader shift away from left-wing parties.


Record Voter Turnout

A record-high voter turnout of 64.8% was reported, the highest for an EU vote in Germany since reunification, according to Federal Returning Officer Ruth Brand.

The elections, held every five years, are a critical gauge of public sentiment and have far-reaching implications for EU policies and governance.


Broader European Context

Across Europe, the elections highlighted a palpable shift to the right. While mainstream parties retained control of the 705-member European Parliament, far-right parties made significant inroads in several countries, including Germany and France.

The center-right European People’s Party (EPP) once again emerged as the largest bloc, with Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president and an EPP member, celebrating the party’s victory.


Implications for the EU

The European Parliament, the only directly elected institution within the EU, plays a vital role in shaping legislation and approving the EU budget. The incoming parliament, comprising 720 seats, reflects the diverse political spectrum of the EU’s 27 member states.

Germany, holding the most seats at 96, remains a key player in this legislative body.

Far-Right AfD Surges to Second Place

National and International Reactions

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD faced a historic defeat, prompting discussions on the future direction of his coalition government.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also faced significant political shifts, with far-right parties gaining ground in their respective countries.

The European Parliament elections underscored the growing influence of far-right movements across Europe, challenging traditional political establishments and signaling a potential shift in future EU policies and governance. The results indicate political realignment, as voters support parties promising change.