Survey: Center right to top EU poll, gains seats from past projection


The center right is set to remain the biggest group in the EU legislature after elections in May, according to a survey by the European Parliament released on Friday that showed the conservatives were gaining seats from a poll last month.

The European People’s Party (EPP), which includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, is set to win 188 seats, nearly 27 percent of the 705 deputies of the next legislature, according to the survey of national opinion polls.

The survey, which does not include British voters, showed that the EPP had increased its seats by seven from a previous projection last month. The grouping has currently 29 percent of the seats in the EU assembly.

Socialists, the second grouping in the parliament, have also increased their seats to 20 percent of the total from the past projection of 19 percent, but remain down from 25 percent in the current legislature.

The far right expanded its growth, confirming it is set to be the fourth largest group in the assembly after the liberals, which lost ground in the latest projection.

The German Christian Democrat CDU/CSU alliance led by Merkel would remain the biggest single party with 33 seats, but only just ahead of Italy’s League, the far-right group now in government in Rome.

The League’s 27 seats are a mark of how the elections will reflect a strengthening of nationalist sentiment against established pro-EU movements across Europe.

While traditional parties are set to retain a dominance that would allow a continuation of the broad centrist majority coalition that has tended to support legislation from the EU executive, gains for eurosceptic parties may introduce more policy uncertainty. [Reuters]