Europe's Voters Elect New Parliament As Nationalism Mounts

- May 29, 2019-

Pivotal elections for the European Union parliament reach their climax on Sunday as the last 21 nations go to the polls and results are announced in a vote that boils down to a continent-wide battle between Eurosceptic populists and proponents of closer EU unity.

Right-wing nationalists who want to slash immigration into Europe and return power to national governments are expected to make gains, though mainstream parties are tipped to hold onto power in the 751-seat legislature that sits in both Brussels and Strasbourg.

Leading the challenge to the established order is Italy's interior minister, Matteo Salvini, head of the League party, who is assembling a group of like-minded parties from across Europe.

"We need to do everything that is right to free this country, this continent, from the illegal occupation organised by Brussels," Salvini told a rally in Milan last weekend that was attended by the leaders of 11 nationalist parties.

Projections released by the European Parliament last month show the centre-right European People's Party bloc losing 37 of its 217 seats and the centre-left S&D group dropping from 186 seats to 149.