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Jun 10, 2024, 1:02pm EDT
Europe
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Semafor Signals

Europe’s far right surge had some notable exceptions

Insights from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Norran, and Politico

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Viktor Orban
John Thys/Pool via REUTERS
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The News

The far right made substantial gains in the European Parliament elections, but their success wasn’t universal.

In Hungary, Sweden, and Belgium, far-right parties that were expected to make significant headway ultimately stagnated, with many voters more concerned about party corruption and less about migration.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Hungary’s Orbán has new fierce rival in former partner

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Sources:  
Euronews, Foreign Policy Research Institute

Hungary’s Fidesz populist party — which has been led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán since 2010 — scored about 45% of the vote, the first time the party has won less than 50% in the European parliamentary elections since 2004. While Fidesz will still send the most delegates to Brussels, the Tisza party — led by former Orbán ally Péter Magyar, who campaigned on cleaning up Fidesz’ corruption — made stunning gains, taking nearly 30% of the vote. Political analyst András Tóth-Czifra noted that Tisza’s performance is “by no means some kind of liberal upsurge” but rather voter “exhaustion after 14 years of Fidesz rule.”

Leftist parties drown out far right in Sweden

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Sources:  
Norran, Associated Press

In Sweden, both The Left Party and The Greens made impressive gains, while the opposition center-left Social Democrats’ goal ​​“was mainly to avoid losing votes for the first time in an EU election,” according to Swedish newspaper Norran. The far-right Sweden Democrats party, meanwhile, trailed behind others, coming in with 2% less votes than the last election. Voters were likely turned off by revelations that the Democrats used fake social media accounts to push their agenda, spread misinformation, and badmouth other contenders, according to the Associated Press. Migration was also not as pressing an issue for northern European voters, said one think tank analyst.

Belgium shifts more to the right, but avoids ‘extremist’ takeover

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Source:  
Politico

An “expected extremist landslide didn’t happen” in Belgium, according to Politico, but right-wing parties did make significant gains. The country’s mainstream had anticipated a far-right sweep in the north that could have kickstarted a plan to break up the country. But the far-right Vlaams Belang party, in the northern Dutch-speaking region where it was expected to make the most gains, failed to defeat the more moderate New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) that came in first with 17% of the vote. And in the Wallonia Francophone region of Belgium, the center-right Reformist Movement (MR) gained the most French-speaking votes, ultimately forcing Prime Minister Alexander De Croo to resign following his moderate Open VLD party’s underperformance. Although forming coalitions in Belgium is “notoriously difficult,” the N-VA and MR have already signaled their willingness to work together, Politico wrote.

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