Left is loser in European vote
Europe's mainstream centre-left parties were heading for humiliation tonight as four days of voting in the EU's biggest ever election concluded with disastrous results for social democrats.The BBC reports:
According to projections for national rounds of the European parliament election across several of the EU's 27 states, voters also cut their support for centre-right Christian Democrats, who nonetheless notched up handsome victories in several key EU states.
In Germany, which returned 99 of the parliament's 736 seats, the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partner in the coalition, sunk to an all-time low with less than 22% of the vote, according to TV exit polls. The result replicated a dismal performance five years ago that all the opinion polls had predicted would not be repeated.
"The result is significantly worse than we expected," said Franz Muentefering, the SPD chairman. "This is a difficult evening."
In Austria, the chancellor and leader of the Social Democrats, Werner Faymann, led his party to its worst ever election result, with just over 23%, according to Austrian TV projections.
In both countries, the Christian Demo-crats won comfortably, with Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and her Bavarian CSU allies taking almost 39%, albeit five points down on five years ago. Austria's Christian democrats, or People's party, were comfortable winners, with about 30%, though also three points down.
...Can it be that Europe will be more conservative than Obama and the Democrats? It is looking like that is very possible. It could be a good sign for conservatives in the 2010 election here. Liberalism is failing everywhere. With the results from Lebanon also on the right side it looks like a better than expected election day for the good guys.
Socialist leader Martin Schulz said his group's defeat would be analysed.
"It's a sad evening for social democracy in Europe. We are particularly disappointed, [it is] a bitter evening for us," he said.