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EU Parliamentary Projection: Scare for S&D and ECR, Treats for EPP

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 October in 2023.

This month Luxembourg and Poland have elected new parliaments and there are signs that the European elections are getting closer, with the first dedicated election polls appearing in some countries. That, together with some general changes in the polling, paints a somewhat different picture than last month.

The largest group in the European Parliament seat projection remains the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) with a total of 173 seats, an increase of eight seats. The second largest group, the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), with 139 seats, has seen a similar-sized movement in the opposite direction, losing five seats. The third centrist group, the liberal Renew Europe (RE), gained two seats and now has 92. These three parties, which form an informal coalition in the European Parliament, now have 404 out of 705 seats, a comfortable absolute majority, the largest since February.

The next largest group, the national-conservative European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), loses six seats, to a total of 80. The other group on the right of the political spectrum, Identity and Democracy (ID), gains two seats to 76.

On the left, the Greens/European Free Alliance (G/EFA) is predicted to win 51 seats, one less than last month, while the Left in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL (LEFT) gains two seats and is now expected to win 45.

The Non-Inscrits (NI) lost three seats and now have a total of 53, while the not (yet) affiliated parties are projected to have eleven seats one more than before.

These figures show that, with a 95% confidence interval, the EPP would come first and the S&D second if an election were held this month. Although RE has gained and ECR has lost, the third place of the liberal group is not quite definite, while ID is close to the other right group and could come fourth or fifth. Places six to nine are, as they have been for a long time, possible for NI, G/EFA and LEFT. Unaffiliated parties, which currently have no representation in the European Parliament, are the smallest group of all.

Filip van Laenen

A variety of developments among national parties lie behind these changes:

In Germany, the governing Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (S&D) has lost two seats, while the opposition Alternative für Deutschland (ID) has gained three. The newly formed Bündnis Sahra Wagenknecht (unaffiliated) has not yet appeared in enough polls to be also included in this projection.

In France, the governing Renaissance (RE) has lost two seats and the Parti Communiste Français (LEFT) would gain representation in the European Parliament with four seats.

There are also some changes in Italy, where the Partito Democratico (S&D) is predicted to lose two seats, while Europa Verde (G/EFA) would gain the same number. Even more significant is the change in Romania, where Alianța pentru Unirea Românilor (ECR) is projected to lose three seats and Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România (EPP) will no longer enter the Parliament. The two governing parties, Partidul Social Democrat (S&D) and Partidul Național Liberal (EPP), are expected to gain two seats more than in September.

Another EPP member that would lose representation is the Christen-Demokratisch Appèl from the Netherlands.

After the elections in Poland, Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe (EPP) is expected to gain two seats, while Ruch Narodowy (NI) will lose two. The elections in Slovakia and their aftermath also have an impact on the forecast for the first time. Smer – Sociálna Demokracia (NI), which is projected to win four seats, is excluded from the S&D group.

The popular vote projection for October shows similar changes to the seat projection. Overall, the European People’s Party has made a big gain of 1.1 percentage points and is now on 22.4%. The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats suffered a bigger loss to 18.5% (−0.6), while Renew Europe gained 0.6 to 10.5%. Together, the three groups of the informal coalition have increased their share and continue to hold an absolute majority with 51.4%.

The third largest groups in the European Parliament are the European Conservatives and Reformists and Identity and Democracy, both with 11.3%. While the former reached this figure after a drop of 0.5%, the latter gained the same amount.

On the left, the Greens/European Free Alliance increased their share considerably to 7.5% (+0.5), while the Left in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL decreased by a percentage points to 5.9%. The Non-Inscrits increased slightly to 6.1% (+0.1), while those who have not (yet) joined a political group lost half a point to 6.5%.

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, three MEPs have changed allegiance: Stefania Zambelli left LEGA (ID), joined Forza Italia and now sits with the EPP. As the Slovak Smer is no longer a member of the S&D, its two MEPs now sit with the Non-Inscrits.

In addition, two new MEPs have joined the group: Luxembourg’s Martine Kemp (CSV-EPP) and Austria’s Wolfram Pirchner (ÖVP-EPP) replace colleagues from their parties. Slovakian Michal Šimečka (PS-RE) also left the European Parliament, but his replacement has not yet been announced.

The composition of the European Council has changed this month, with Robert Fico (NI) replacing Ľudovít Ódor (unaffiliated) following elections in Slovakia. In Luxembourg and Poland, government changes are expected after this month’s elections, but the coalitions have not yet been formed. In Spain, Pedro Sánchez (PSOE-S&D) has also been unable to form a new government.

Looking ahead to next month, on 22 November the Netherlands 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.

Update 02/11/2023: modified the change of S&D MEPs from 6 to 5.