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The Irish and the Czechs vote on day 2 of the EU elections, as the far right wants to gain more power | National news

BRUSSELS (AP) — Voters in Ireland and the Czech Republic will go to the polls Friday on the second day of European Parliament elections, with a wave of the far right in the 27-nation bloc likely to emerge on the second day of the elections for the European Parliament. end of the election marathon.

The final results will not be announced until Sunday evening, after each country has voted. However, an exit poll Thursday after the start of elections in the Netherlands confirmed that Geert Wilders’ far-right PVV party should make big gains.

Although a coalition of pro-European parties pushed the PVV into second place, amid a larger turnout than in previous EU elections, Wilders’ party appeared to have made the biggest gains of the evening.

Since the last EU elections in 2019, populist, far-right and extremist parties now lead governments in three EU countries, are part of governing coalitions in several other countries and appear to have growing public support across the continent. Far-right parties in France, Belgium, Austria and Italy are leading the EU elections.

The Czech Republic is contesting 21 seats in Friday and Saturday’s elections, with an opposition movement ANO (YES) led by former populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis favored to win with an agenda critical of the European mainstream.

Immigration is higher on Ireland’s political agenda, with independent candidates calling for tighter controls and expected to win many votes – although Ireland lacks a major far-right party capable of consolidating anti-immigrant sentiment.

The immigration issue is eroding support for the left-wing party Sinn Fein, the party once linked to the Irish Republican Army and which was on its way to becoming Ireland’s most popular party.

On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that the EU risks coming to a standstill if far-right parties have a large representation in parliament. Jordan Bardella, the French National Rally’s leading European Parliament candidate, quickly fired back at Macron, urging French voters to choose his party to end the EU’s “harmful policies such as punitive ecology against our farmers or the immersion of migrants.”

Nearly 400 million voters will elect 720 Members of the European Parliament for a five-year term.

EU lawmakers can vote on a wide range of legislation covering banking rules, climate, agriculture, fisheries, security and justice, and the stakes are high. They also vote on the EU budget, which is crucial for the implementation of European policies, including, for example, aid to Ukraine.

The number of elected legislators in each country depends on the size of the population. It ranges from six for Malta, Luxembourg and Cyprus to 96 for Germany. Voters in the Czech Republic will elect 21 members of the European Parliament, while 14 seats are at stake in Ireland, where immigration, the housing crisis and the cost of living have emerged as election issues.

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Associated Press writers Jill Lawless in London and Karel Janicek in Prague contributed to this report.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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