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Independents could tip the balance in Euro Parliament | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

At first sight, the losses sustained by the left and centre-left in the European elections would not appear to constitute a landslide. After all, the Social Democrats will remain the second largest bloc in the European Parliament, after the parties of the centre right. But what may change is the way in which the parliament takes decisions.

Here in the Netherlands, the right-wing Freedom Party was one of the big winners in the European elections, yet analysts were quick to point out that with only four out of the 736 seats in the European Parliament (EP) it won't be able to achieve much on its own - party leader Geert Wilders having already said that he doesn't intend to join any of the existing coalitions in the parliament.

By the same token, left-wing parties may have lost spectacularly in countries such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, but because they are part of a coalition - some of whose other members, like the Greek socialists, actually made gains in the elections - the consequences of their losses have ended up being somewhat limited. As a result, the social-democratic PES bloc will remain the second largest grouping in the EP despite those losses, with only the centre-right EPP (European People's Party) bloc beating it in terms of numbers of seats.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:26:17 PM EST
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