Germany’s conservatives finished first in the European Union’s elections, as far-right momentum within the bloc has sent France’s leadership scrambling. 

The conservative alliance of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union garnered 30.2% of the vote Sunday, Politico reported, citing a projection by German public television. 

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party came in second place, projected to receive 16% of the vote – a 5 percentage point club from the 2019 European Parliament election. 

Meanwhile, dismal results for Germany’s governing parties have dented Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s authority and could prompt even more infighting. 


German leadership after EU elections

From left, CDU party leader Friedrich Merz, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and CDU member Daniel Caspary attend a party leadership meeting after the EU elections, in Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 10, 2024.  (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Scholz’s Social Democrats, the environmentalist Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats secured less than a third of the vote. Scholz’s party polled only 13.9%, its worst post-World War II showing in a nationwide vote, while the Greens crashed to 11.9% from a peak of 20.5% five years ago, the Associated Press reported. All were significantly below their performance in Germany’s 2021 national election.

“People have anxieties. They have anxieties about their future; they have anxieties about not earning enough, about not making enough, about having too many migrants and asylum seekers in their cities,” Andrea Römmele, a political science professor at the Hertie School in Berlin, told the AP. “And that’s something that the AfD appeals to.”

Opposition leader Friedrich Merz celebrated his Union bloc’s win and described the outcome as “a serious defeat for the chancellor, who was on posters across the country.” Fellow conservatives suggested that Scholz should call a parliamentary confidence vote or that new elections might be needed — suggestions the governing parties dismissed.

“He went all-in in this campaign … so it is also his loss,” Römmele said. But despite some recent talk of a possibility of the Social Democrats replacing Scholz with the more popular Defense Minister Boris Pistorius as its candidate for the next election, “Olaf Scholz would need to step aside, and I simply do not see that, be there pressure or not,” she added.

Germany election poster

An election poster of German far right AfD party is fixed on a lamp pole in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, June 10, 2024.  (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen‘s victory in the European Parliament election in France prompted French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron to call snap legislative elections. 


The first projected results from France put the far-right National Rally party well ahead in the European Union’s parliamentary elections, handing a significant loss to Macron’s pro-European centrists, according to French opinion poll institutes. Le Pen’s nationalist party was estimated to get around 31%-32% of the votes, a historic result more than double the share of Macron’s Renaissance party, which was projected to reach around 15%.

Macron himself was not a candidate in the EU elections and his term as president still runs for three more years.

Marine Le Pen delivers speech

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen delivers her speech at the party election night headquarters after her EU victory, Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Paris. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

In response to the EU election results, Macron dissolved the lower house of France’s parliament in a surprise announcement sending voters back to the polls in the coming weeks to choose lawmakers, after his party was handed a humbling defeat. The legislative elections will take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7.


Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s far-right party won European elections with a strong 28% of the votes, boosting her leadership at home. Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party confirmed its status as the country’s most popular party, even improving its performance from the 26% it won in the 2022 general elections, according to projections by state broadcaster RAI based on almost 70% of votes counted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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