Become a Patron

EU Parliamentary Projection: Not Much LEFT

Europe Elects’ European Parliament forecast gives an indication of how voters in the European Union would vote if an election were held today. It also shows how this forecast changes from month to month.This month, in addition to our usual approach, there is a look at how the EP would appear if the Council of the European Union’s proposed amendments are implemented and the number of seats is increased to 720.

Considering first our standard seat projection for August with a total of 705 seats, the biggest group, as nearly always since the last election, is the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) with 160 seats, a plus of three seats to the month before. They are followed by their closest competitor for first place, the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), which has 146 seats adding three seats since July. The third centrist group, the liberal Renew Europe (RE) made no gains but lost one seat in our estimate, bringing them to 89 MEPs. These three parties, which form an informal coalition in the European Parliament, now have 395 seats out of 705, a comfortable absolute majority.

There are not too many changes in the next largest groups, those on the right of the political spectrum. The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) are expected to have 82 seats, the same as in the month before, and Identity and Democracy (ID) gain one seat, up to 73, their fifth consecutive gain and an increase of ten seats since March.

On the left, the Greens/European Free Alliance (G/EFA) are projected to win 52 seats, three more than last month, while the Left Group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL (LEFT) suffers its third major loss in a row and is now forecasted to have 38 seats, a drop of seven. In just three months they have lost 15 seats in our projection. Part of this is also due to changes in the way we treat political alliances in our projection, a detailed explanation of which follows below in this text.

The Non-Inscrits (NI) picked up one seat and now have a total of 56, while the not (yet) affiliated parties are projected to have nine seats three fewer than before.

The above is a projection of the distribution of seats in the European Parliament as it now stands. Last month it became clear that there is a good chance that the number of seats will be increased by 15 to a total of 720. This has yet to be formally approved by the European Council, but it seems likely enough to be accepted that we want to show what the seat projection would look like in this scenario. At the moment we know which country will get an extra seat, but for Ireland and Belgium it is not yet clear which constituency that seat would be allocated to. For now, we expect the former to go to Midlands-North-West and the latter to the Dutch-speaking constituency.

In this scenario, all but one of the political groups in the European Parliament would gain additional seats. The European People’s Party would increase by four seats and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats by three. Identity and Democracy and the Non-Inscrits would each gain two seats, while Renew Europe, the European Conservatives and Reformists as well as the Greens/European Free Alliance would each have one extra seat. The same applies to those not (yet) affiliated to any group. The only group that has not changed in this scenario is the Left Group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL.

In absolute numbers, this means that the EPP would have 164 MEPs and the S&D 149. The third largest group would be RE with 90 seats and together, as now, these three would have an absolute majority of 403 seats. On the right, ECR would have a total of 83 seats and ID would have 75. On the left, G/EFA would have 53 MEPs and LEFT would remain at 38. The Non-Inscrits would have 58 seats and those not (yet) affiliated 10.

Returning to the original projection, there are both methodological changes and changes in national polling behind the developments.

In terms of individual parties, the biggest changes have taken place in the Netherlands, where elections will soon be held. A new party has been formed: Nieuw Sociaal Contract, which is expected to join the EPP and is predicted to win seven seats. In addition, BoerBurgerBeweging (NI), which successfully participated in the last regional elections, has lost three projected seats compared to July.

The only other major change for a single party is for the German Alternative für Deutschland (ID), which has gained two seats since last month. No other party has lost or gained more than one seat compared to the month before.

Further changes to the projection come from a new and more accurate way of projecting the seats of political alliances. Previously the alliances consisting of many differently affiliated parties were treated as individual parties and all seats were allocated to a single group in the European Parliament—that of the largst constituent party in the alliance—with some minor modifications. From now on, the projection distributes the seats to all the different parties included in the coalitions. If no electoral lists are available, the distribution is based on the ratio of national MPs or, if not yet in parliament, on the last available individual polling average.

For this month, this includes changes in four countries:

In Hungary, the multiparty alliance Fidesz-KDNP pártszövetség will have one of its 12 seats reallocated from NI to EPP, while in Poland there are changes for two groups: Klub Parlamentarny Koalicja Obywatelska (KO) will have one seat each shifted to RE and not (yet) affiliated parties, while 14 seats will remain with EPP. Trzecia Droga (TD) will have two seats with EPP and three with RE.

In Bulgaria, the alliance Продължаваме Промяната – Демократична България (PP-DB), which was previously categorised as EPP, will now have two seats with RE and one seat each with EPP and not (yet) affiliated parties. The Spanish Sumar will have its seats redistributed from LEFT to G/EFA (three seats) and not (yet) affiliated (two seats). Three seats remain with LEFT.

It is worth noting that these methodological changes account for five of the seven seats lost by the LEFT in the projection, as well as two of the three seats gained by the EPP and all three seats gained by the G/EFA. RE has two seats less as a result of the change, so they now have a small overall loss rather than a small gain. NI has one seat less and parties not (yet) affiliated have 4 seats more.

The projection of the popular vote for August shows several changes, partly due to the methodological shifts. Overall, the European People’s Party has made a big gain of one percentage point and is now on 21.6%. The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats is unchanged at 19.5%, while Renew Europe has dropped to 10.2% (-0.3). Together, the three groups of the informal coalition have increased their share and continue to hold an absolute majority with 51.3%.

The third largest group in the European Parliament, the European Conservatives and Reformists, gains after losing ground last month and is now at 11.8% (+0.3). The other group on the right, Identity and Democracy, suffered a small loss of 0.1 percentage points and now stands at 10.5%.

On the left, the Greens/European Free Alliance increased their share to 7.1% (+0.2), while the Left in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL lost more than one percentage point in August and now only has 6.1% (-1.1). The Non-Inscrits also lost almost half a point to 6% (-0.4), while those who have not (yet) joined a political group increased their share to 7% (+0.3).

As mentioned above, the changes are also partly due to our change in methodology, allocating seats and votes for every party in the alliance, which affects the share of four groups. This explains 0.4 percentage points of the EPP’s gain and 0.2 percentage points of the RE’s loss. For the LEFT, all the losses can be explained by the methodological change, without which they would have remained at the level of the previous month.  It can also fully explain the gains of the G/EFA, without which they would have had a loss of 0.4 percentage points.

Details of these methodological changes are explained on our European Parliament projection site where you can find also an in-depth overview and explanation of the methodology behind the monthly projection including information on why there are sometimes different developments in the popular vote share and the seat projection.

Looking at the current composition of the European Parliament at the moment, one new member joined in August: Catherine AMALRIC (PR – RE) from France replaced another French Renew Europe MEP from the Liste Renaissance.

Two Spanish MEPs left the parliament and have not yet been replaced: Adriana Maldonado López (PSOE-S&D) and Esteban Gonzáles Pons (PP – EPP) both took up their seats in the Spanish national parliament.

The line-up of the European Council has not change this month, there is no new government following the Spanish elections and it is not yet clear whether Pedro Sánchez (PSOE – S&D) will continue to lead the government and represent his country in this institution.

Looking ahead to next month, on 30 September Slovakia will hold national parliamentary elections, which could lead to further changes in the European Council. All the results from elections across the continent and details of upcoming elections can be found in our Election Calendar.