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Far right makes strong gains in EU elections as liberals and Greens lose seats, projections show

Populist, far-right parties won record support in this year's European Parliament elections, early exit polls and estimates indicated on Sunday.

The far-right Identity and Democracy group made major gains, while the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists saw a slight uptick in votes, according to the first official projection released by the EU at 8:30 p.m. local time.

The center-right European People's Party was once again projected to win the most parliamentary seats, with a marginally bigger lead than before. Allied centrist groups — of which the EPP is the largest — were set to retain a majority in the Parliament despite the far right's surge.

The liberal Renew Europe and the Greens/European Free Alliance, meanwhile, were both set to lose a significant number of seats.

Here is the projected 2024 vote breakdown, versus the previous parliament:

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission and an EPP member, said her party had once again shown itself to be the "strongest" in Parliament.

"We were determined, we were united, and now we won the European elections. Voters have entrusted us with a very strong mandate," von der Leyen said during a press conference, shortly after the preliminary results were announced.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats faced its worst-ever result Sunday, falling to third place behind the far-right Alternative for Germany.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for a surprise parliamentary election after his Renaissance party suffered a heavy defeat to Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally, part of ID.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's right-wing Brothers of Italy, part of ECR, came out on top.

Austria, the Netherlands and Poland also saw