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EU Parliamentary Projection: Gains Left and Right, Losses In Between

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. This article covers the month of April in 2023.

The seat projection for the European Parliament had more changes than normal last month, with gains on the left and right of the centre and primarily losses for the three parties in the middle. The liberal and centrist Renew Europe (RE) suffered the biggest loss, being projected to hold 89 seats now, nine seats lower than before. The other group with fewer seats in April is the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), who are at a total of 141 seats now, a minus of two. The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) is the only of the three that would make a gain, but a small one of one seat to now 163. Together the informal coalition of the mentioned three parties is projected in April to have 396 seats, still easily an absolute majority within the total of 705 seats, but ten seats less than the month before.

On the right the national-conservative European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) gain two more seats to now 85 seats, closing the gap to Renew Europe, while thr right-wing Identity and Democracy (ID) is projected now at 64 (+1). Bigger gains were made by the two groups on the left side of the political spectrum: the Greens/European Free Alliance (G/EFA) gain three seats and are now back up to 49 seats, while the Left Group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL (LEFT) is projected to have the biggest gain in April and would have now a total of 51 seats (+4). Of the remaining seats, 52 are taken by unaffiliated Non-Inscrits (NI); an increase of one seat and 11 seats would go to not (yet) affiliated parties, a minus of one.

Even though these changes didn’t impact the order of the parties, the gaps are much closer and partly not statistically significant at a 95% confidence interval anymore, outside the top two. EPP and S&D are still clearly in place one and two, but behind them RE and ECR are now close enough that both could end up third or fourth. While ID is projected to be the fifth strongest group the place six to eight are again too close to call Non-Inscrits, LEFT and G/EFA could all end up in these places. The not (yet) affiliated parties are clearly the smallest group in the projection.

Projection: Filip van Laenen

Behind these changes lie multiple factors: One that accounts for three projected seats is Finnish Perussuomalaiset switching their affiliation from ID to ECR. The biggest impact from polls come from France where Renaissance (RE) is projected five seats lower, while the same amount is gained by Rassemblement National (ID). In addition Europe Écologie – Les Verts (G/EFA) gained two seats compared to the month before. Also in the Netherlands there are multiple changes, as governing Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (RE) is down by two seats while the winner of the last regional election BoerBurgerBeweging (not yet affiliated) is gaining four seats.

Both in Italy and Ireland governing parties are projected lower: Fratelli d’Italia (ECR) is down two seats after many gains over the last years and Fianna Fáil (RE) is also down by two as they now are projected to only have one seat in the European Parliament. In addition to this there were many smaller changes in most of the countries where parties lost or gained one seat.

The popular vote projection for April 2023 shows similar trends to the seat projection, but some details are different. The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Renew Europe both lose 0.8 percentage points, moving them down to 18.2% and 10.4%. A smaller share is also projected for the European People’s Party who are down to 21.4% (-0.2). Together the three parties still hold an absolute majority, but a very narrow one with exactly 50%.

The biggest winner of April 2023 are right-wing Identity and Democracy who are up by 0.6 percentage points to now 9.6%. Also the European Conservatives and Reformists had a gain and are projected with 11.6% (+0.2). On the left, the Greens/European Free Alliance have a different trend than in the seat projection, being down by 0.3 percentage points to 7% while the Left Group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL is up by 0.5 and has now a share of 7.8%. The parties that are grouped as Non-Inscrits had again no change and are at 6% and those that have not (yet) joined a group are at 7.8% (+0.7). The changes, however, are so small they can mostly be taken with a grain of salt and sample variation.

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.

The composition of the European Parliament itself also changed in April with having multiple new members joining and some switching affiliation. The already mentioned move of Finnish Perussuomalaiset from ID to ECR transfers two seats between these two groups. Besides this, two MEPs changed their affiliation: Alexis Georgoulis from Greece was expelled from SYRIZA (LEFT) and is now sitting as a Non-Inscrit, while Italian Isabella Adinolfi switched party from Movimento 5 Stelle (NI) to Forza Italia (EPP).

There are also four new members in the European Parliament: After the elections in Finland Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner (PS, ECR) replaces her colleague that moved to the national parliament. From Italy there are three new members: Mercedes Bresso (PD, S&D), Francesca Peppucci (FI, EPP) and Maria Veronica Rossi (Lega, ID) all replace other MEPs from the same parties that got new functions after the regional elections.

In the European Council there were no changes in April 2023. Kaja Kallas from Estonia stays as a representative of her country, as she is also leading the new government as a prime minister. In Finland and Bulgaria there are not yet new governments formed after national parliamentary elections but in both countries chances are high that new prime ministers with different affiliations take office. This could lead to EPP gaining one seat each from S&D and NI, but in the next months there should be more clarity on this.

The next election with a possible impact on the European Council are on 21 May when Greece will vote for their national parliament. If you want to know what’s coming up in all of 2023, check out our Election Calendar with all dates to national and regional elections all over the continent.