“Tight race” between the far right and the left: the Netherlands opens the ball in the European elections

They were the first Thursday June 6 to participate in a European vote “particularly monitored” due to the expected surge from the nationalist right, note it Guardian. The Dutch launched four days of elections across the European Union to elect 720 MEPs. Within the bloc, “polls predict significant gains for populist and far-right parties (…) which could significantly increase their influence on public opinion”recalls the British daily.

The European vote opened with a “close race” between the extreme right and the left in the Netherlands, notice it BBC. “According to initial forecasts” announced in the evening, “the European elections in the Netherlands should give rise to a neck-and-neck race between the red-green electoral alliance (socialists and ecologists) and the radical right party of populist Geert Wilders”, note it South German Zeitung. Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV), the surprise winner of the November elections, was initially given the lead with a fiercely Eurosceptic manifesto.

According to the Dutch English-speaking site Dutch News, which cites an exit poll by the NOS television channel, the left-wing GroenLinks-PvdA alliance is expected to win eight seats in the European Parliament, which would make it the largest Dutch group in Brussels. The far-right PVV party, expected to lead the poll, is on track to win seven seats.

Participation on the rise

However, the official Dutch results will not be published until Sunday evening, after the end of voting in the rest of the EU, recalls the Dutch media. “Exit polls, based on a representative sample of polling stations, have a margin of error of one seat, meaning that the Dutch results are far from certain”specifies the site.

According to the Dutch English-speaking site NL Times, the participation rate also seemed to be increasing in the Netherlands. According to an Ipsos and NOS channel exit poll, 46.8% of eligible voters took part in the vote, which could represent the most “high level of electoral participation never reached since 1989”even if “less than half” Dutch people voted. In 1989, 47.48% of voters participated in the European elections compared to 41.93% in the 2019 elections and 36.75% in 2009.

As the country kicked off the European elections, several websites of Dutch political parties were victims of cyberattacks on Thursday, reports the site Politico. These actions were claimed by a pro-Russian hacker group called HackNeT on the social network Telegram. “The Netherlands is the first country to vote for a new European Parliament”the group wrote in a message in Russian. “They will therefore be the first to suffer” cyberattacks, have warned hackers, suggesting other actions that could target the European continent.

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