Opposition parties emerged as winners in most EU countries in the Balkans, following weekend European Parliament (EP) elections. In Greece on Sunday (June 7th), the ruling New Democracy (ND) lost to the main opposition PASOK by four percentage points, 36.75% of the votes, compared to 32.68%. The Communist Party was third with 8.19%, followed by the Popular Orthodox Rally and the Radical Left Coalition. PASOK leader George Papandreou hailed his party’s performance, saying it is a “hope for a better tomorrow”.
In Cyprus, the opposition conservative Democratic Rally (DISY) scored a narrow win over the ruling Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL). The DISY won 35.65% of the vote, compared to AKEL’s 34.9%. Each party will get two seats in the EP. The other two seats went to AKEL’s coalition partners, the centre-right Democratic Party and the socialist EDEK party.
In Bulgaria, the centre-right opposition Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) won the EP elections with 24.6% of the vote. The ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party was second with 18.5%, followed by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms with 14% and the ultranationalist Ataka (Attack) party with 12%. Rounding out the pack were the National Movement for Stability and Progress, the right-wing Blue Coalition and the LIDER party.
Romania bucked the overall trend of being in favour of opposition parties. Parties in the ruling coalition came out on top Sunday. Preliminary results suggest the alliance between the Social Democratic Party and the Conservative Party attracted 30.56% of the votes. The other partner in the ruling coalition, the Democratic Liberal Party, was second with 29.69%, followed by the main opposition National Liberal Party with 14.56%. The Democratic Union of Hungarians was fourth, edging out the far-right Greater Romania Party.
Turnout throughout the Balkans was generally low, except for in Bulgaria.