The center-right European People’s Party (EPP) won the most seats in the European Parliament but Eurosceptic parties made strong gains, officials said Sunday, citing their latest projection.
The EPP won 178 seats, down sharply from 216 in the outgoing parliament but more than the 152 won by the Socialists and Democrats, its center-left rival, parliament spokesman Jaume Duch told reporters.
The Socialists dropped from 185 seats.
“I don’t feel a real powerful victory today,” said Manfred Weber, the EPP leader in the 751-seat parliament and candidate to become the new head of the European Commission, the EU executive.
“We are facing a shrinking center,” Weber told journalists, referring to the loss of seats from his group and the Socialists.
The various populist, eurosceptic and right-wing parties won more than 100 seats, Duch told reporters.
The Europe of Nations and Freedom -- composed of the French National Rally and Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s League -- saw their share rise from 37 to 55 seats.
The Europe for Freedom and Direct Democracy -- which includes Salvini’s coalition partner the Five Star Movement and Britain’s Brexit Party -- went from 42 seats to 53.