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EU Parliamentary Projection: One Year to Go

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 May in 2023.

With the announcement of the date for the next European Parliament elections, from June 6 to June 9 in 2024, it is still a year until we know how the European citizens will vote. Until then, as always, we can take a look at last month’s polls to see how an election would go if it were held now.

There, it shows that in May the European People’s Party would still be the largest group with 161 seats, but that is two fewer than in the previous month. On the other hand, the biggest gains this month would be made by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) with 144 seats an increase of three seats. The third party in the middle of the political spectrum, Renew Europe (RE), is expected to receive 90 seats, one more than in April. Together, the informal coalition behind President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is expected to have 395 seats, an absolute majority within the total of 705 seats and two seats more than the previous month.

On the right, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) are expected to take 82 seats, three fewer than before, while Identity and Democracy (ID) are projected to gain two more seats and now have 66 seats. On the other side of the political spectrum, the Greens/European Free Alliance (G/EFA) lose one seat and now have 48 seats, while the Left Group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL (LEFT) is expected to gain for the third consecutive month and would now have a total of 53 seats plus two from last month.

Of the remaining seats, 50 are taken by Non-Inscrits (NI), a decrease of two seats and 11 seats would go to not (yet) affiliated parties, the same as before.

Looking at the order of the political groups, the EPP is the largest ahead of S&D. The gap is narrowing, but with a confidence interval of 95%, their lead is still safe. As for the third largest fraction, it is not certain that RE will end up ahead of ECR. ID is expected to be the fifth strongest group, while places six to eight could be taken by Non-Inscrits, LEFT, and G/EFA. The not (yet) affiliated parties are clearly the smallest group in the projection.

Projection: Filip van Laenen

Behind this are several changes of individual parties in the member states. In France there were a number of changes last month: Rassemblement National (ID) would have three fewer seats and both Renaissance (RE) and Les Républicains (EPP) would lose two. On the other hand, Parti comuiste français (LEFT) would gain representation with four seats and Parti socialiste (S&D) would have three additional seats.

France is not the only country with changes: In Germany Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands (EPP) is projected to be two seats up while governing Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (S&D) is two seats down. In Italy, Fratelli d’Italia (ECR) gain two more seats, while Azione-Italia Viva splits back into its two original parties, with Italia Viva losing representation and Azione having three fewer seats than the coalition combined.

In the southeast of the continent, the Greek Νέα Δημοκρατία (Néa Dimokratía, EPP) gained two seats and Συνασπισμός Ριζοσπαστικής Αριστεράς – Προοδευτική Συμμαχία (SYRIZA, LEFT) lost two seats. On the opposite geographical side, Irish Fine Gael (EPP) also lost two seats, while Fianna Fáil (RE) gained the same amount. All other parties changed by a maximum of one seat.

The popular vote projection for May 2023 shows major changes for the three parties in the centre of the political spectrum: The European People’s Party has the greatest losses of all groups this month and now stands at 20.7% (-0.7). On the flip side, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats has the largest gains to 18.8% (+0.6). Renew Europe recovers some of its losses from the previous month and is now at 10.8% (+0.4). Together, the three parties increase their share slightly again and continue to hold an absolute majority of 50.3%.

There were fewer changes on the right of the political spectrum: European Conservatives and Reformists gained 0.1 percentage points to stand at 11.7% (+0.1), while Identity and Democracy remains at 9.6%, as in the previous month.

On the left, the Greens/European Free Alliance fell by 0.1 percentage points to 6.9%, the lowest figure since the last European elections. The Left Group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL also has a lower value compared to the previous month. Its share is now 7.5%, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points. The parties that are grouped as Non-Inscrits had a small increase to 6.1% (+0.1) and those that have not (yet) joined a group are at 7.6% (-0.2).

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.

In the European Parliament itself, there were changes in May, when Italian MEP Caterina Chinnici moved from PD (S&D) to FI (EPP). A new member also joined for the Greek ΠΑΣΟΚ – Κίνημα Αλλαγής (PASOK-KINAL, S&D): Nikos Papadreou replaced Nikos Androulakis from the same party.

The composition of the European Commission is also changing: Bulgarian Mariya Gabriel (GERB, EPP), who served as Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, left the Commission to join the national government as one of Bulgaria’s rotating prime ministers. It is not yet official who will replace her as commissioner.

In the European Council there were some changes in May 2023: After the parliamentary election in Greece no new government was formed and another election will be held on June 25, but until then a caretaker government is in place, led by Ioannnis Sarmas (not-yet affiliated). In Bulgaria a new government was formed with rotating prime ministers. Nikolay Denkov (PP, RE) who will take over the role for the first nine months will also replace the president of Bulgaria in the European Council.

Besides the mentioned election in Greece, there are local, regional, and indirect national elections coming up in various European countries. All the details can be found in our Election Calendar with all dates to national and regional elections all over the continent.