By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet
ANKARA (AA) - Rise of the far right strongly influenced European politics in 2019, particularly in the EU Parliament elections but also in national and local polls.
The most prominent success of far-right parties was their domination of EU Parliament elections in May in three of the EU’s four largest countries by population: France, the U.K. and Italy.
In France, the far-right National Rally Party of Marine Le Pen narrowly beat President Emmanuel Macron’s party coalition, receiving 23% of the vote.
In the U.K., which is about to leave the EU, the Brexit Party of populist politician Nigel Farage won with 30%.
In Italy, the far-right populist League Party of Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini scored a sweeping victory, receiving 34% of the vote, well ahead of the runner-up, the leftist Democratic Party, which received 22%.
The strong showing of these Eurosceptic parties raises serious questions over the future of the EU.
The rise of the far-right was also evident in other elections held this year.
Spain held two general elections -- one in April and one in November. The far-right Vox party secured 24 seats in the 350-seat parliament during the first election and 52 seats in the second, becoming the third-largest party in the country.
In Germany, meanwhile, October elections in east-central Thuringia state reflected the rise of the far-right vote in the EU’s most populous country.
While the Left party won, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party came in second, receiving twice the number of votes compared with the previous election.
On the other hand, Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union suffered a crushing defeat, managing to win only 21.8%, down 12 percentage points from the last election.
In Italy, besides his EU election victory, far-right politician Salvini also scored a historic win in October elections in Umbria, a region ruled by the left for half a century.
The coalition headed by Salvini received 57% of the vote, while the center-left coalition garnered 37%.
Salvini is also clearly leading in opinion polls for Italy’s next general election.