MOSCOW, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - The European People's Party is set to win elections to the European Parliament, but voter apathy amid the economic crisis has led to a swing to nationalist parties in Europe, a top Russian senator said Monday.
According to the latest EU results of the June 4-7 election, the EPP center-right party won 264 seats. The Socialists have gained 183 seats, the Greens 50, the Liberals 84 and the Left 34. However, there was a swing to nationalist parties, including those promoting anti-immigrant policies.
"The crisis has very much reinforced the positions of nationalist parties at elections, affecting also a record low voter turnout," Mikhail Margelov, the upper house international affairs committee chairman, told RIA Novosti Monday.
Margelov explained it by the fact that many EU citizens believe that successfully dealing with the recession is only possible at national level, which deals an additional blow to the integration process and reinforces isolationist positions.
The European Union's 27 states have 375 million voters. The European Parliament is the only EU institution whose representatives (736 MPs) are directly elected by Europeans.
Turnout in the elections was predictably low at just 43%.