Democracy

Fringe Parties Win European Elections

Sunday was a good day to be an egomaniacal world leader: Silvio Berlusconi and Nicolas Sarkozy both gained in European elections. How did the rest of Europe fare? Overall, the Center Left lost out across the 27 E.U. countries, while the Center Right consolidated its power as the largest group in parliament. Anti-immigrant parties gained ground in at least six countries, while socialist parties across Europe failed to capitalize on the economy, and suffered demoralizing losses. About 213 million voters opted out by abstaining from the polls in one of the lowest turn outs ever—only 43 percent of voters showed up, less than 2004's historical low of 45.47 percent, and despite mandatory voting in some countries.