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Final Day Of EU Elections Today To Elect 720 Members Of European Parliament

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Sunday marks the last day of voting for the EU elections, which began across the 27-member bloc on June 6. The voting will determine the bloc’s next parliament. The elections are being seen as pivotal as Europe faces several challenges, such as the high cost of living, climate change and the war in Ukraine. Immigration is also a major issue, with calls from some sections to limit their numbers.

The new parliament will also decide the next president of the European Commission, the EU’s politically independent executive arm. Incumbent President Ursula von der Leyen is seeking re-election.

The European Parliament is the world’s only directly elected transnational assembly, according to the EU website. The Members of the European Parliament, or MEPs, “represent the interests of EU citizens at the European level”, the website adds. 

The EU elections take place every five years. This year, they started on Thursday in the Netherlands and continued on Friday and Saturday in other nations. The bulk of the countries vote on the final day.

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A report by news agency AFP said Centrist mainstream parties are projected to hold most of the EU parliament’s 720 seats, but could be weakened by a strong far-right bloc, which is rising in several countries owing to growing concerns about immigrants bringing in social ills.

“The far-right has not only become a stable feature of EU politics it has also been normalised and is no longer a fringe phenomenon in the majority of member states,” said political analyst Zsuzsanna Vegh of the German Marshall Fund, as quoted by AFP. 

This clash of ideologies is likely to be starkest in France, where Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) may beat President Emmanuel Macron’s liberal Renaissance party, the AFP report said. Similarly, in Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s centre-left SPD is said to be polling behind the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“Leading the polls are the centre-right Christian Democrats, credited with 30 percent of votes — but on 14 percent the AfD is either neck-and-neck or ahead of all three parties in the ruling coalition: SPD, Greens and the liberal FDP,” the AFP report said.

Initial results can only be revealed on the evening of June 9, once polling stations have closed in all member states, as per an AP report. 

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