Center-right projected to remain biggest group in EU Parliament

The Eurpoean Parliament has released its final voter projection ahead of its May 23-26 European elections. If Britain takes part after all, euroskeptic groups are set for a significant boost.

The center-right will remain the largest group in the next European Parliament despite shedding seats, while two euroskeptic groups could see their combined support climb, according to an EU-wide survey conducted ahead of the May 23-26 vote.

Conservative and left-leaning parties have been bracing for a right-wing surge in the European polls following a string of national elections in recent years that have seen euroskeptic parties boost their presence in member state parliaments.

Read more: Euroskeptic, anti-immigrant parties team up for EU election 

The poll in detail

Commissioned by the European Parliament, the poll updates a previous one from March which did not include British voters due to Brexit. It assumes the European Parliament will have 751-seats, instead of 705-seats before a Brexit deadline was extended to October 31. 

  • The center-right European People's Party (EPP), which includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, would get 24 percent, down five points compared to the 2014 election.  
  • The center-left Socialist & Democrats (S&D) would remain the second largest bloc in the European Parliament at 19.8 percent, a drop of 5 percent.
  • The euroskeptic Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), which currently includes the UK Independence Party, would get 6 percent, up half a point.
  • The euroskeptic Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), which includes Italy's far-right League and France's National Rally, would increase its support by 3.3 percent to 8.3 percent. 
  • The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR, which includes Poland’s ruling PiS led by euroskeptic Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is projected to get 8.8 percent, down 1.3 points.

  • The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group (ALDE) is on course to secure 10.1% of the vote, up 1.1 percent.

  • The European United Left/Nordic Green Left is projected to win 6.1 percent, down 0.8 percent.
  • The Greens-EFA would get 7.6 percent, up 0.7 percent.
  • Other parties not in a group were projected to receive 8.3 percent.
    Infografik EU Parlament Sitzverteilung - Projektion EN

How is Germany expected to vote?

Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats are expected to win 31 percent of the vote in Germany, making it the largest party in the European Parliament with a projected 30 seats. The Greens soaring support over the past year is expected to continue into the European polls, with the environmentalists on pace to get 18 percent. They are followed by the Social Democrats (17.3 percent), far-right Alternative for Deutschland (10.8 percent), liberal Free Democrats (7.3 percent), Left Party (6.8 percent) and smaller parties polling at low single digits.

Read more: Germany's conservatives present vision for Europe 

European Elections 2019: Candidates for the top EU job

Manfred Weber (EPP)

The center-right European People's Party (EPP) — the largest faction in the European Parliament — has picked Manfred Weber, its German parliamentary party leader. He has the backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Though considered the front-runner, Weber is little known on the international stage, and his language skills are considered poor.

European Elections 2019: Candidates for the top EU job

Frans Timmermans (S&D)

Frans Timmermans, the European Commission's first vice president, will lead the campaign for the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D). Weber's main rival promises to bring the bloc closer to ordinary voters at a time when Britain's looming exit is one factor behind the nationalist movements across the EU.

European Elections 2019: Candidates for the top EU job

Jan Zahradil (ECR)

The third-largest group in the EU Parliament, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), has just one candidate: Jan Zahradil, chairman of the Czech ECR delegation. Zahradil, 65, is affectionately known as "Forrest Gump" for cycling from Prague to Strasbourg for a session of the European Parliament and for once running 1,300 kilometers (about 800 miles) across the Czech Republic for charity.

European Elections 2019: Candidates for the top EU job

Margrethe Vestager (ALDE)

Margrethe Vestager, 51, is one of seven lead candidates for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats. As the current EU commissioner for competition, the Danish MEP has taken on corporations like Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet. It's also been said that she served as the inspiration for the main character in Borgen, a Danish series where a woman becomes Denmark's first female leader.

European Elections 2019: Candidates for the top EU job

Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA)

The Greens/EFA is the seventh largest group in European Parliament, so the Dutchman is a long shot to become European Commission president. The 42-year-old MEP, who along with Germany's Ska Keller is representing the group, said he joined the race to "make sure the Green vision is being heard." He has championed a move to cap palm oil use by 2023, then reduce it to zero by 2030.

European Elections 2019: Candidates for the top EU job

Violeta Tomic (GUE/NGL)

The EU's left-wing groups will be headed by Belgian trade unionist Nico Cue and Violeta Tomic (at left). Tomic is a deputy in Slovenia's National Assembly, best known as a TV presenter and actress. She entered into politics in 2014 and has been an advocate for LGBT rights and stronger citizens' rights in Europe.

Implication for EU Commission President

The poll confirms previous forecasts showing losses for the EPP and Social Democrats, which tend to cooperate in a sort of coalition in the European Parliament. Under the latest projections, the two groups would have to reach out to a third party to elect the next EU Commission President. German Manfred Weber of the EPP is currently a frontrunner for EU executive post.   

Poll data

The projections are based on national polling institutes in EU member states compiled by Kantar Public. It includes national polls published up to April 15.

Related Subjects

Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.