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Stars don’t align for M5S in Europe

M5S office in Citta di Castello, Italy [personal archive]

Luigi di Maio’s Five Stars Movement (M5S) is in trouble. According to forecasts its presumed allies in Europe are unlikely to elect a single MEP. Such a scenario is contained in the first set of projections on how the next European Parliament would look like, based on national polling data from the beginning of February 2019. The European Parliament will repeat this exercise until just before the European elections (23-26 May).

There is no doubt that M5S will score well at the European elections. According to the latest polls in Italy as reflected on the EU Parliament website, Di Maio’s force is expected to obtain one vote out of four (25,7%), which would result in 22 MEP seats, 5 more than in the 2014 elections. This is good news. The bad news is that the political forces in other EU countries, seen as possible partners of M5S, are unlikely to reach the respective national thresholds  required to elect MEPs.

Zero seats from Poland, Greece and Finland

In Poland polls showed that Kukiz15 would reach 4.2%, if elections were held the upcoming week-end. This is however below the threshold and means zero. This means the much-advertised political project the Poles officially joined may not bear fruit.

Even more difficult is the situation in Greece and Finland. Here the parties of the tentative coalition are not even detected by the European Parliament poll.

In Greece there is a group of unspecified political forces put all together within the so-called “other parties”. It is a group accounting for 5.9% in total, in which the M5S partner AKKEL, the Agriculture-Livestock Party of Greece is included. But this force, and the others under the same heading, should not expect to elect a single MEP.

The M5S partner form Finland, the Finns of Niike Lyt are out of the radar. Presumably they are also in the group of “other parties” accounting for a total of 2.5% of the vote. This also means zero MEPs.

Croatians to help the 5 Stars, Poles maybe

So far, the only political ally of M5S from another EU country able to elect at least one MEP is Živi Zid. The Croatian force is expected to be obtain 12.3% of the vote, which means two MEPs.

Given the projections, only a miracle will allow M5S to form a political group (MEPs from at least seven EU countries are needed). With three months before the European elections, things can change, but less likely for the political parties in Greece and Finland cited.

Kukiz15 could still try qualify by bringing its 4.2% to 5%, the threshold foreseen by the Polish legislation for the European elections. It won’t be not an easy task, but still more feasible compared to the other partner parties already mentioned.

The threshold in Greece is established at 3% of votes, meaning that AKKEL has a very slim chance. In Finland no threshold is set, but for the time being Niike Lyt is out of the games.

What next?

What should M5S do? One option is the classical ‘let’s wait and see’. What is clear is that this force needs to be pro-active and find new partners in order to secure a political group. The Movement will count on 22 MEPs. That’s a lot in a national context, but insignificant at EU-wide scale. A paradox of democracy.

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