The parliament has released the first set of seat projections based on a selection of national polls assessed by Kantar Public, a data research firm and consultancy, up to the beginning of this February.
Euroskeptic groups are predicted to hold 153 seats in the 705-seat parliament. With 27 seats, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s Lega is set to become the second biggest national party in parliament after Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union with 29 seats.
Lega is part of the Europe of Nations and Freedoms (ENF), a right-wing alliance that also includes France’s Rassemblement National, the Dutch Party for Freedom, and Austria's Freedom Party. Their total seats in the EU legislature are expected to increase from 37 to 59.
Other parties projected to snatch seats from the top conservative European People’s Party are Poland’s Law and Justice Party (24 seats), and Italy’s Five Star Movement (22 seats).
Official figures show that the European People’s Party is about to lose 34 of the 217 seats it now holds, while mandates of the second-biggest Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats will see its seats slide from 186 to 135.
Voters will be going to the polls on May 23-26 to decide Europe’s future. The next, ninth convocation will have 46 fewer members than the outgoing 751-seat one. The first direct elections to the European Parliament were held 40 years ago.