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Green wave sweeps European elections

27 May 2019, 03:07 ( 3 Months ago)

By Wang Zichen and Ren Liying, Xinhua
People queue up to vote at a polling station in Brussels, Belgium, May 26, 2019. Photo Xinhua.

The Greens are expected to be one of the biggest winners in this year's European Parliament elections, grabbing around 20 more seats in the European Union's legislature.

   Latest projections put the Greens at around 70 seats in the 751-member legislature, trailing only the traditional conservatives, socialists and centrists. It would also potentially land the Greens in a king-making position, if the larger parties want to establish a governing majority.

   "As Greens, we're very happy about the results, about the trust that we could experience," Ska Keller, a co-Group leader said, vowing to "put their trust into concrete action, into concrete climate protection."

   "And it's fantastic to see the trust has been given to us, this is not a thing of just one country, we can really see it all over the European Union from the results we have already know. From the results we have already known that the green way has really spread all over Europe and it's very fantastic results," Keller said.

   MAJOR GAINS ACROSS EUROPE

   Greens are set to win big in Europe, notably Germany, France and Ireland, amid growing anxiety over climate change.

   The initial prognoses, made by the local public channel ARD, showed a surge in support for Germany's Green Party, who won around 22 percent of the votes, doubled its 10.7 percent share in 2014.

   Seen as the biggest winner, the Greens also complied with German's domestic call for "fresh change", said Gu Xuewu, professor of the Institute for Political Science and Sociology of the Bonn University.

   "They have fresh images and new political ideas, making it different from the long-governing parties. Thus it attracted a lot of followers, who hoped the party would bring something new," said Gu, who has followed German politics for a long time.

   In Ireland, the Green Party surged to clinch at least one and possibly three of Ireland's 13 seats, an exit poll showed.

   That prompted Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach -- akin to Prime Minister -- to congratulations, saying "I want to congratulate the Greens on a very good election. It's a very clear message from the public that they want us to do more on climate action -- and we've got that message. That's going to require lots of changes on individual level, community level and government level."

   In France, the Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, is now projected to win 12.6 percent of the vote, making it the third-largest political force in this election.

 

   STRONG POSITION

   The Greens will leverage their victory to action in the EU, said Philippe Lamberts, a co-Group leader.

   He described his group as "indispensable" in the politics that will quickly follow the election results.

   "With the uptick in nationalism, the Greens will be indispensable. You can count on us to say we can bring about a radical change for a sustainable and democratic Europe," he said.

   The Greens will not just sign a piece of paper and let others take its place, he added.

   Other political groups have also signaled they will do more on the environment, with Udo Bullmann, leader of the European Parliament's second-largest group, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), vowing action.

   The S&D will support an increase in the EU's financial resources to combat climate change and raise the bloc's climate targets, he said.

   Bullmann said that Frans Timmermans, the S&D's lead candidate for the President of the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, would make environment sustainability a core part of his policy platform if Timmermans wins that job.