Anti-European Union and far-right parties posted strong gains in elections to the European Parliament in some countries on Sunday, tapping into voter anger over economic austerity and delivering a blow to institutions in Brussels, national governments and mainstream political parties.
Anti-EU or euroskeptic parties won the biggest share of the vote in France—where a quarter of the votes were cast for the far-right National Front—as well as the U.K., Greece and Denmark, according to early results. (See a graphic of live election results.)
Overall, centrist, pro-European parties are still expected to hold a broad majority of the 751 seats in the new legislature, which decides on EU laws together with national governments. But euroskeptic and anti-EU lawmakers could complicate passing measures on which mainstream parties are divided, including a planned free-trade deal with the U.S.
The center-right European People’s Party, or EPP, is expected to hold 212 seats in the new Parliament, down from 274 seats, followed by the center-left Socialists & Democrats, with 186 seats, down from 196. The free-market Alliance of Liberals & Democrats was projected to get 70 seats, down from 83, while the Greens will send 55 delegates to Brussels, down two from the previous elections in 2009.