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European elections: how the East escaped the surge of the radical right



In Europe, it was a shock: in the most important Western countries members of the European Union (EU), far-right parties achieved good results, even winning the European elections. This was particularly the case in Germanyin France, Italy and in Austria. On the other hand, in the east of the EU, the situation is different: it does not correspond at all to the pre-established image of this part of Europe, often perceived as the bastion of Viktor Orban and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, nationalist and populist leaders.

From the Baltic countries to Bulgaria, nationalist, Eurosceptic and far-right parties did not obtain the expected results, they even lost votes. Only Slovenia and the Czech Republic saw parties allied to Orban and his Fidesz party win the European elections.

The picture is rather surprising in the eastern EU. Thus, in Hungary, for the first time in many years, Orban’s party lost a significant number of votes. Peter Magyar, new star of the Hungarian political scene and opponent of the Prime Minister, received 30% of the votes. In Poland, to everyone’s surprise, it was the pro-European liberal and conservative coalition of Prime Minister Donald Tusk that won the European elections. In Slovakia, the Progressive Party won a clear victory, leaving behind the ruling Smer party of right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Robert Fico. In Romania and Bulgaria, right-wing nationalist and pro-Russian parties received fewer votes than expected, or failed to improve on their 2019 score.

The Hungarian surprise

It was Hungary which had the biggest surprise during these European elections, organized at the same time as the local elections. For the first time since 2009, Fidesz and its coalition partner, the Christian Democratic KDNP, failed to obtain an absolute majority, falling to 45% of the vote.

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