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Centre-right wrestling Socialists for first place in Portugal, Romania: EU elections projection

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The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) is close to overtaking the socialists in two of their strongholds, Romania and Portugal, according to the latest EU elections projection by Europe Elects for Euractiv. Check out further changes in party rankings in Germany, Italy, Hungary, and the Netherlands.

The European Socialists are meeting in Rome on 1-2 March to launch their EU elections campaign, while the EPP will convene in Bucharest on 6-7 March.

While the EPP is projected to score a similar result as in 2019 with 181 projected seats, the Socialists (S&D) are so far expected to lose 14 seats, down to 140 – as some of their strongholds weaken. 

In Romania, currently governed by the Socialists, the latest projections reveal that the ruling party PSD has lost two seats, while the centre-right PNL (EPP) has earned two compared to mid-February projections – with both parties now tied at 10 seats. They are closely followed by newcomer far-right AUR (ECR) at eight seats. 

A scandal that broke out this summer related to care centres for the elderly, which led to the resignation of the minister of labour, has likely withered support for PSD. In September, the party also encountered a corruption case among its ranks. 

Meanwhile, the Portuguese socialist party (PS/PES), having garnered an absolute majority in the 2022 elections with 120 seats, has now lost support and is heading towards a head-to-head race with the centre-right PSD (EPP) in the upcoming snap election on 10 March.

The election was called for after Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa resigned in November due to a corruption scandal involving high-ranking socialist officials. 

Both PSD and PS are currently expected to get seven MEPs each. In 2019 the Socialists got nine, and the centre-right seven.

Fearing an alliance of the centre-right with the surging far-right party Chega, the socialist leader Pedro Nunes Santos said during a debate on 19 February he would support a minority government by PSD with its Leader Luís Montenegro as prime minister.

“If it does not win the elections, the PS will not present a motion of censure nor will it make a motion of censure viable against a victory by the AD [conservative coalition that includes the centre-right PSD],” Santos said. 

The outcome of the national elections and the subsequent government formation will likely shift public opinion and affect the EU election results. 

Costa’s resignation dealt a devastating blow to the European Socialists as before the corruption scandal, he was considered as the front-runner for the next European Council president.  

ECR (83) overtakes Renew (82) as the fourth force in the European Parliament by one seat. 
Renew loses three seats, to 81.
Italy: Azione (Renew) drops from four to zero seats.
Netherlands: Far-right PVV (ID) drops from 12 to nine seats; CDA (EPP) gains two seats, up to three in total. 
Hungary: Demokratikus Koalició goes from three to five seats.
Germany: CDU (EPP) loses three seats, to 20; AfD (ID) gains 2, up to 20; Greens lose two seats, from 13 to 11; Sahra Wagenknecht’s party (Left) falls from seven to five; Animal Protection party (Left) earns two seats, to three. 

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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