Europe Elects produces every month a projection on how voters in the European Union would vote, should there be an EU Parliament election today. In this January 2020’s projection, the national-conservative ECR Group has seen—as in October, November and December— significant gains. As a result, ECR is now the third most popular European parliamentary group after the centre-right EPP and the centre-left S&D. Greens and the European Free Alliance Group, conversely, has fallen to the seventh position.
Our projection for the month shows that the centre-right EPP Group in the European Parliament would remain the largest bloc in the assembly, with 177 out of 751 seats and a popular vote share of 20.9%. In the EU election last May, EPP got 182 seats and a popular vote share of 21.0%, meaning the parties belonging to the centre-right group would most probably be facing some unfortunate setbacks because of the varying election systems in different EU member states. The EPP includes parties like the German CDU, the Italian Forza Italia and the Spanish PP.
The centre-left S&D would come second in the projection with 153 seats and 18.8% of the popular vote. This would be one seat less—but 0.3 percentage points more in the popular vote—than in the 2019 election. The S&D Group hosts Socialist and Social Democratic parties like the British Labour and the Swedish Social Democrats in the EU Parliament from across the continent.
Europe Elects’ projection of seats of European Parliament in January 2020
Trailing the two frontrunner groups by some margin, the third biggest European Parliamentary group in our January’s projection is the national-conservative ECR Group with 103 seats, up from 62 seats in the 2019 EU election. In terms of vote shares, the ECR Group receives 12.4% in our projection, outranking the RE Group for the first time in years. This is 4.2 percentage points more than in the EU election last year. The ECR Group hosts political parties such as the Polish PiS and the Spanish VOX. The current number of seats projected is the highest level ever measured for the national conservative ECR Group since Europe Elects started the projection in 2014.
The liberal and centrist RE Group is also projected to get 103 seats should the election be held now. The group sitting in the middle of the Parliament, which includes amongst others the French LREM, the Dutch VVD, and the German FDP, received 108 seats in the 2019 EU election. Across the EU, the national parties affiliated with the RE Group have a combined EU vote share of 11.8%, which is 1.2 points below RE’s 2019 election result.
The ID Group in the European Parliament is projected to get 82 seats and a vote share of 11.9% if there was an EU election today. This is nine seats and 0.9 percentage points more than in the EU election. Election systems around the continent seem to produce unlucky results for the ID, as they would receive over 20 seats less than their counterparts ECR and RE with a similar vote share of around 12%. The ID Group consists of groups like Marine Le Pen’s RN in France, Matteo Salvini’s LEGA in Italy and other right-wing political parties on the national level.
Europe Elects’ projection of popular vote in the EU in January 2020
The left-wing GUE/NGL is projected to be the sixth-largest bloc in the European Parliament if there was an election today, clearly behind the five biggest groups. The Europe Elects projection predicts the party would receive 53 seats, up from 41 in the EU election 2019. In the popular vote projection, the party stands at 8.1%, up from only 6.5% in the 2019 election.
Greens/EFA was the fourth-largest parliamentary group in the European election in May 2019, but has now slid to the seventh position. In terms of seats, Green/EFA decreases from 74 seats and 11.7% in the election night to only 52 MEPs and 8.2% in Europe Elects’ January projection.
The Non-Inscrits—those parties left without a parliamentary group—would send 25 MEPs with a 4.2% vote share in the popular vote to the European Parliament. New unaffiliated parties would receive three seats with a 3.7% vote share in the popular vote.
Disproportionate or sometimes opposite developments in the popular vote share and the seat projection can be explained with the slight disproportionality of the electoral system for the European Parliament.
EU27: the post-Brexit parliament projection
The UK is set to leave the EU on 31 January. Obviously this would and will affect the Europe Elects’ projection of the European Parliament. The overall size of the European Parliament will be decreased from 751 to 705 with the United Kingdom’s departure. The British parties hold 73 seats together, but 27 of them will be distributed across the member states to ensure a more matching proportionality to population of member states. How would this all affect the projection? Let’s find out.
Europe Elects’ projection of seats of European Parliament in January 2020 without the United Kingdom
In our so-called EU27 projection, Europe Elects sees the centre-right EPP Group with 182 seats (up from 177 seats with the UK included) and the centre-left S&D with 131 seats (down from 153). The latter group is significantly weakened by the British exit from the union. The liberal RE group would more or less remain stable with 102 seats, whereas the national-conservative ECR would lose a third of their seats compared to the regular EU28 projection (103 seats with the UK vs. 70 without). The right-wing ID Group (82 vs. 86) and the left-wing GUE/NGL Group (53 vs. 54) would net-profit from Brexit in the EU Parliament. The Greens/EFA Group would remain at 52 seats.
Visit our European Parliament projection site for a deeper overview and the methodology behind the monthly projection.
Featured title picture: Jan Zahradil, President of the European Conservatives and Reformists party.
Photo credit: European Parliament on Flickr with Attribution 4.0 Generic (CC BY 4.0) CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2019 – Source: EP
This article was edited by Julius Lehtinen.