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May 28, 2014

Far-right Parties in the European Elections

Updated July 8, 2014 European voters elected a new slate of representatives to the European Parliament, ushering in a new slate of far-right, largely pro-Russian parties. Many of these parties that will potentially form a powerful new block in the European Parliament have been roundly criticized for their antisemitic, violent, racist rhetoric.

But if you look at Europe as a whole, far-right parties had a mixed showing. While Marine Le Pen’s Front National won the French elections with 25 percent of the vote and far-right parties in Austria, Germany, and Greece scored big gains, support for ultra-right parties decreased in Italy, Slovakia, and the Netherlands. In addition, Bulgaria’s virulently antisemitic Attaka party virtually collapsed and, in Hungary, the Jobbik Party stalled and Lithuania’s far-right party made no gains. Final results were not yet available in many countries.

Human Rights First is concerned that the ascent of extremist parties could corrode from within respect for the fundamental principles on which the European Union was founded. The United States government should take special note of the increasing electoral strength of Golden Dawn and other extremist parties. Many European far-right parties espouse policies that are a danger to human rights. They also support closer ties with Russia and voted against a European Parliament resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

Below is a chart of election results for the major pro-Russian far-right parties in each country:

Country

Party

2009

2014

Hungary

Jobbik

14.77% (3 seats)

14.68% (3 seats)

Austria

Freedom Party of Austria

12.71% (2 seats)

19.72% (4 seats)

Greece           

Orthodox Rally/Golden Dawn*

7.15 (2 seats)

9.38% (3 seats)

France            

National Front

6.3% (3 seats)

24.86% (23 seats)

UK               

British National Party

6.04% (2 seats)

1.11 (0 seats)

Germany        

National Democratic Party of Germany

NA

1.0% (1 seat)

Lithuania         

Order and Justice

12.22% (2 seats)

11.0% (2 seats)

Italy                 

Northern League

10.2% (9 seats)

6.0% (5 seats)

Bulgaria          

Ataka

11.96% (2 seats)

2.96% (0 seats)

Slovakia         

Slovak National Party

5.56% (1 seat)

3.61% (0 seats)

Slovakia         

People’s Party Our Slovakia

NA

1.73% (0 seats)

Belgium         

Flemish Importance

9.8% (2 seats)

4.14% (1 seat)

 

* In Greece, Golden Dawn won 0.5% of the EP vote in 2009, but its right-wing predecessor, the popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) won 7.1% and two representatives in the European Parliament.  LAOS collapsed in 2012 and many of its supporters moved to Golden Dawn.

Many other countries elected far-right, but not pro-Russian representatives to the European Parliament:

Country

Party

2009

2014

Netherlands

The Party for Freedom

16.97% (4 seats)

13.32% (4 seats)

Denmark    

Danish People’s Party

14.8% (2 seats)

26.6% (4 seats)

Sweden      

Swedish Democrats

3.27% (0 seats)

9.7% (2 seats)

Finland       

Finns Party

(1 seat)

12.9% (2 seats)

 

 

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