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EU Parliamentary Projection: The Big Three Wake Up From Hibernation

Europe Elects’ European Parliament projection offers an indication of how voters in the European Union would vote, should there be an EU Parliament election today, and how this outlook changes on a monthly basis.

After losses in the first month of the year, polls for the three largest political groups in the European Parliament show better results in February: The biggest gains have the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) who are up six seats to now 145, followed by the European People’s Party (EPP) who gained four seats to now 163 seats. A smaller gain was recorded by Renew Europe (RE), which now has 99 seats, making up for the seat it lost in January. Together, these three groups—which support the European Commission and its President Ursula von der Leyen (EPP)—now have 407 of 705 seats, a total gain of 11 seats.

The next largest group, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), follow with 81 seats (−3), the biggest loss for them in a projection since December 2021. The other group on the right of the political spectrum, Identity and Democracy (ID), gains one seat to now 66.

There are also losses on the left side of the political spectrum, moderate ones for the Left Group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL (LINKE), which loses one seat to now 48 seats, and big ones for the Greens/European Free Alliance (G/EFA), which loses six seats to now 49 seats.

Part of the EPP’s gains and G/EFA’s losses are due to changes in the Bulgarian party system: The two alliances Продължаваме промяната (Prodalzhavame promyanata, PP) and Демократична България/Demokratichna Bŭlgariya (DB) have merged into a joint alliance for the next elections, which is grouped with EPP in our projection, whereas the PP alliance was previously grouped with G/EFA.

Looking at the ranking of the groups in the projection and taking into account the margin of error, the political groups in the first five spots are still clear from each other. EPP is followed by S&D, RE, ECR and ID.  Behind that, G/EFA, LEFT and the parties that are Non-Inscrits are roughly even in places six to eight. The not (yet) affiliated parties are clearly the smallest group in the projection.

National developments

When looking at the seat distribution on a national level there were bigger changes in five countries, besides the previously mentioned ones in Bulgaria: In Germany the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (S&D) would gain two seats from their coalition partner Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (G/EFA) and in Ireland Fianna Fáil (RE) would gain three seats, while their coalition partner Fine Gael (EPP) would lose two.

In Romania governing Partidul Social Democrat (S&D) is projected with two less seats, while two smaller EPP members would again gain representation in the European Parliament: the Hungarian minority party Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România as well as the Partidul Mișcarea Populară would each gain two seats.

In Hungary opposition party Demokratikus Koalíció (S&D) is up two seats, while governing Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség (NI) is down by three.

In Portugal the governing Partido Socialista (S&D) would also loose two seats compared to the month before. All other parties in the European Union are projected to maximum gain or loose one seat.

In the popular vote projection for February 2023 were several minor changes. The three groups that form an informal coalition in the European Parliament have together a share of 51.5% (+0.2). This is due to the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) both gaining 0.2 percentage points to now 21.7% respectively 18.7%. Renew Europe (RE) on the other hand is down by 0.2 percentage point to now 11.1%.

The fourth biggest group European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) have no change in the projection this month and stay at 11.5%, while Identity and Democracy (ID) gained 0.2 points to 9.2%.

On the left side of the political spectrum both groups are projected lower than in the month before: the Greens/European Free Alliance (G/EFA) are now at 7.3% (-0.6), and the LEFT are at 7.1% (-0.3).

The parties that are grouped as Non-Inscrits are now at 6.0% (-0.1) and those that have not (yet) joined a group are at 7.2% (0.4).

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. Visit our European Parliament projection site for a more in-depth overview and explanation of the methodology behind the monthly projection.

Regarding the European Council there was one election in February 2023 that will have an impact in the near future: Nikos Christodoulidis (NI) was elected president of Cyprus and will take office on the 1st of March. His predecessor Nicos Anastasiades was in the EPP group.

On 5 March there will be a national parliament election in Estonia, which may have also impact on the European Council, depending on who will form the government afterwards.

If you want to have all the information on what’s coming up through all of 2023, check out our Election Calendar with all dates to national and regional elections all over the continent.