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EU in key vote as far right seeks blow to Macron

EU in key vote as far right seeks blow to Macron

AFP
Brussels
Slovaks and Latvians cast their ballots in EU elections on Saturday as the far right hoped to clinch major gains and deny a pro-Europe victory to French President Emmanuel Macron.
Polls were open in Malta, Slovakia and Latvia, with most of the bloc’s 28 member states –including big players Germany, France and Italy–to vote on Sunday, with turnout expected to be low.
Polling has shown for months that eurosceptics and the anti-immigration far right could make big gains in the vote, which will also help determine who replaces Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the European Commission as well as other top jobs.
More than 400 million people are eligible to elect 751 members of the European Parliament, with the first official results to be announced late Sunday once voting in all EU countries is over.
France’s staunchly pro-European Macron has a big stake in the outcome, hoping to see his centrist Republique en Marche make a strong showing and shake-up EU politics in a direct challenge to the nationalists.
But Marine Le Pen of France’s National Rally and Matteo Salvini of Italy’s anti-immigrant League want to team-up to disrupt the EU establishment, and are wooing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party to join them in parliament.
Salvini’s League tops the polls in Italy and Le Pen’s RN party has an edge in France, with around 25 percent support against Macron’s 22.5 percent.
“Once again Macron is daring us to challenge him. Well let’s take him at his word: On May 26, we’ll challenge him in the voting booth,” Le Pen said at a rally on Friday.
Eurosceptics got a major boost from Britain’s Nigel Farage whose Brexit Party, according to polls, will score a resounding victory in the UK.
If that is confirmed, the veteran Brexiteer would likely group with Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star movement to become another force to destabilise the Strasbourg, France parliament.

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