Slovakia heads to polls in EU vote in wake of PM’s taking pictures, Italy up subsequent | EUROtoday

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Slovakia on Saturday opened its polling stations in EU-wide elections, below the shadow of final month’s taking pictures of Prime Minister Robert Fico.

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It marked the midway level of the 4 days of elections throughout the bloc to decide on the subsequent European Parliament.

Most of the EU’s 27 nations—together with powerhouses Germany and France—will maintain their votes on Sunday.

But Italy, the EU’s third-biggest financial system, will begin voting later Saturday, with its outcomes more likely to have a big effect on how the parliament is configured and on the longer term course of the bloc.

In Slovakia, the May 15 assassination try on Fico by a 71-year-old poet rocked the nation of 5.4 million and unfold shockwaves throughout the EU.

A visibly thinner Fico had issued a pre-poll video describing his attacker as “an activist of the Slovak opposition” which he accused of “aggressive and hateful politics”.

“It was only a matter of time before a tragedy would occur,” the four-time PM stated within the 14-minute video.

His occasion, which highlighted the assault in its marketing campaign occasions, opposes EU arms deliveries to Ukraine and rails towards alleged “warmongers” in Brussels.

Violence has occurred elsewhere within the bloc.

Late Friday, a person hit Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in a Copenhagen sq..

She was not critically harm, in line with witnesses. Police arrested the assailant, whose motive was not instantly identified. Denmark additionally votes on Sunday.

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen condemned the “despicable act” towards Frederiksen.

But it was the taking pictures of Fico that was essentially the most dramatic incident within the bloc forward of the polls.

In its wake, assist for Fico’s left-wing populist Smer-SD occasion has skyrocketed and soared previous its most important liberal rival to the highest of voter-intention surveys.

Historically nonetheless, Slovakia registers low turnout in EU elections. In the final one, in 2019, simply 22 % of voters solid ballots.

Meloni, queenmaker?

Later Saturday consideration will shift to Italy’s vote. Far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is hoping a robust displaying from her occasion will strengthen her hand as a key EU powerbroker.

Polls recommend her post-fascist Brothers of Italy may come out on prime with 27 % of the vote, which might mirror a broader surge of good points for far-right teams throughout the EU.

That may make her a possible kingmaker—or extra appropriately, queenmaker—as her backing might be essential in deciding if present von der Leyen, a German conservative, earns a second time period helming the fee.

Meloni has already been courted by centre-right von der Leyen—and by French far-right chief Marine Le Pen, who needs to create an EU supergroup of far-right events.

Meloni has not stated what she’s going to do, however has insisted her aim is to relegate EU leftwing events to the opposition benches.

Domestically, a commanding efficiency may assist additional tighten Meloni’s dominance over Italy’s notoriously turbulent political scene.

The prime minister has been omnipresent in nationwide media within the run as much as the elections, notably portraying herself as a bulwark towards unlawful immigration.

Increasing backlash towards migrants has pushed far-right fortunes throughout the EU, and was one of many key causes Meloni was propelled to energy in 2022.

Overall, polls forward of the vote instructed that far-right events may declare round 1 / 4 of the 720 seats within the incoming EU parliament.

Von der Leyen’s conservative European People’s Party and the centre-left Socialists and Democrats nonetheless stay on the right track to be the 2 largest groupings within the EU parliament.