EPP Claims Victory in EU Elections, Gains 5 Seats

EPP Claims Victory in EU Elections, Gains 5 Seats
EPP Claims Victory in EU Elections, Gains 5 Seats

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared victory for the center-right European People's Party (EPP) in the EU's elections after a centralized exit poll showed the party remaining the largest party in the bloc's legislature.

A centralized exit poll showed the EPP gaining five seats to field 181 deputies, which is good news for von der Leyen who seeks a second five-year term at the helm of the powerful EU executive arm.

Opinion polls predict historic gains for radical right-wing parties. Such an outcome could shift the balance of power in the EU’s only democratically-elected institution and give right-wing forces more influence than ever on EU policies. Also at stake - who takes the helm at the European institutions in Brussels, including the Commission and the Council, with the elections set to trigger a race to the top EU jobs.

"We are the anchor of stability", von der Leyen told cheering supporters at the EPP's election night event in Brussels. "No majority can be formed without the EPP".

However von der Leyen may still need support from some right-wing nationalists, such as Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy to secure a parliamentary majority, giving Meloni and her European Conservative and Reformists (ECR) allies more leverage - which could upset other potential allies.

The elections which unfolded over four days is the world’s biggest trans-national ballot with some 360 million EU citizens urged to cast their votes to elect 720 members of the European Parliament.

Italy will be the last country to close its ballot boxes.