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The results of EU-wide elections for the European Parliament came as no surprise. Domestic elections had indicated a strong shift in voter preference for rightwing parties.

Nevertheless, the results came as a shock. Sunday night, French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved his country’s National Assembly and called for elections at the end of this month. He has been long under pressure from the rightwing National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen, forcing the centrist president to shift more to the right.

On the same evening, Belgium’s prime minister resigned his post. Although the rightwing parties did not win there, Prime Minister Alexander de Croo’s liberals lost heavily to the Flemish nationalist party led by Bart de Weaver.

The rightwing parties gained most heavily in France, Germany and Italy. Nearly half of all the EU countries are led by right-of-center parties. In Italy, the strong performance of the rightwing parties reinforced the position of rightist Prime Minister Georgia Meloni. In Austria, the conservative People’s Party took the largest share of the votes. In Germany, the ruling Social Democrat’s grip on power has been weakened.

Except in Denmark, where the Green-Left party won gains, the strong performance of the rightwing parties is evident. In France, Le Pen’s party won more votes that Macron’s ruling party. The same happened in Germany, where the ruling Social Democratic Party took less votes than the hard-right Alternative for Germany.

Despite the surge in rightwing votes, the centrist-liberal parties still hold the biggest number of seats at the European Parliament. The center-right European People’s Party holds 191 seats, forming the largest bloc in the 720-seat assembly. The Socialists and Democrats is the second largest bloc, holding 135 seats. The liberal Renew party lost 22 seats and the Greens lost 20.

Although the centrists still control the European Parliament, they will have, as Macron has been doing, to shift slightly to the right to hold on to their position. The center-of-gravity of European politics has moved rightwards.

The biggest losers of last weekend’s elections were the leftwing parties. There is widespread disenchantment