Far-right seen notching strong gains as European voting wraps up

The first major exit polls coming out of the European Union parliamentary elections suggest that the hard right will rise in the legislature despite a series of scandals in Germany, the bloc’s biggest nation.

An exit poll in Germany indicates that the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, rose to 16.5%, while the governing coalition led by Social Democratic Chancellor Olaf Scholz lost, falling to 14%. It comes on the heels of major gains for the far right in the Netherlands, where the party of Geert Wilders is in a neck-and-neck race with a Socialist-Green alliance.

In Austria, the far-right Freedom Party was predicted to win by a polling-based “trend forecast” that has proved accurate in the past.

Surveys suggest that mainstream and pro-European parties will retain their majority in parliament, but they will lose seats to hard right parties like those led by Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen in France.

“Right is good,” Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán, who leads a stridently nationalist and anti-migrant government, tells reporters after casting his ballot. “To go right is always good. Go right!”

Sunday’s voting marathon winds up a four-day election cycle that began in the Netherlands on Thursday.

Unofficial estimates are due to begin trickle in starting now. The first official results will be published after the last polling stations in the 27 EU nations close in Italy at 11 p.m. (midnight in Israel), but a clear picture of what the new assembly might look like will only emerge on Monday.

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