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Elections: Europe votes: Neck-and-neck race in the Netherlands

Elections: Europe votes: Neck-and-neck race in the Netherlands

Europe is voting: 360 million citizens can elect the members of the European Parliament. The Dutch will be the first to vote. The far-right politician Wilders could become the strongest force for the first time.

According to the first forecast, the European elections in the Netherlands will be a neck-and-neck race between the red-green electoral alliance and the radical right-wing party of the populist Geert Wilders. According to the forecast published on television on Thursday evening, the red-green alliance of the social democratic Labour Party and the green party GroenLinks will win eight of the 31 seats, while Wilders’ eurosceptic Party for Freedom (PVV) will win seven.

Previously, polls had expected Wilders’ party to win a European election for the first time. Five years ago, it entered the European Parliament with just one representative. The far-right politician and his anti-Islam party surprisingly won the national parliamentary election in November and will now govern with three other right-wing parties.

A total of around 360 million Europeans are allowed to vote for the 720 members of parliament. Citizens of the other 26 EU member states can cast their votes in the coming days. The Netherlands are followed by Ireland and the Czech Republic, followed by Italy, Latvia, Malta and Slovakia one day later. The majority of voters will vote on Sunday. Then the Germans will also go to the polling stations. For the first time, 16-year-olds will be allowed to vote in a European election in Germany.

There is a special feature in Estonia

Estonians have been able to vote electronically since Tuesday – from any computer or smartphone. Voters can also change their minds in the “e-voting” system, which was introduced in Estonia for the first time in the world. Only the last vote cast counts. E-voting runs until Saturday. On election day, Sunday, only traditional voting with ballot paper is possible.

The first forecasts for the Netherlands are expected this evening at 9 p.m. According to the polls, the radical right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) of the populist Geert Wilders will be the strongest force, followed by the red-green alliance of the social democratic Labour Party and the green party GroenLinks. Wilders’ anti-European anti-Islam party only got one seat in the Brussels parliament five years ago.

In November, Wilders surprisingly won the parliamentary election. He will now form a coalition with three other right-wing parties. Wilders also removed his call for a Nexit, the Netherlands’ exit from the EU, from his program. Instead, he wants to “undermine the EU from within” together with other radical right-wing parties, he said in April.

Who will win the race in Germany?

In Germany, recent polls indicate a clear election victory for the CDU and CSU. The AfD was in second place ahead of the SPD and the Greens.

The European Parliament has a decisive influence on new EU laws and the distribution of money, such as the billions in EU agricultural subsidies. However, most laws are negotiated together with the EU states and must also find a majority in the so-called Council. Representatives of the respective national governments make the decisions there.

Parliament can also influence the composition of the EU Commission. It is initially the responsibility of the heads of state and government to make a proposal for the president. However, Parliament can reject this. The favorite is the incumbent German EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (CDU).

Source: Stern

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