While the two biggest Parliamentary groups are forecast to scoop the most seats in the European elections this month, it's the smaller — but popular — ones that could shake up which MEPs stroll into Brussels, according to the latest projections from Europe Elects.
Centre-right European People's Party (EPP) and centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) will secure the most seats in parliament despite both losing dozens compared to the 2014 elections, though neither are forecast to reign in a majority.
The centre-left S&D group is poised to lose 32 seats while the frontrunning EPP is projected to lose 41.
The wildcards, however, are British MEP Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, Italy's 5-Star Movement and French President Emmanuel Macron's LREM, which has been expected to join the liberal ALDE party — but has yet to formally join the group.
The newly formed Brexit Party is, by default, housed with the populist Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group. But it's possible, even likely, that Farage's party will join the ranks of another Eurosceptic group in parliament. Should this happen, the EFDD will cease to exist unless other parties suddenly throw their weight behind the group. Europe Elects' figures above, therefore, illustrate EFDD with zero seats.
The latest polls indicate the British Conservatives are headed for a thrashing. With the Brexit Party (EFDD) and UK Labour (S&D) leading the polls, it's the UK Conservatives that will see fewer seats amongst its European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in European Parliament.
"The Conservatives are going through its lowest vote share in polls and elections on the UK-level since its foundation in 1834," said Tobias Gerhard Schminke, founder of Europe Elects.
The latest projections show that ECR will lose nine seats overall.
The S&D group will also take a drop despite gains with the UK joining the race, as SMER Slovakia polls at its lowest level since 2003, he added.
Another party political analysts will continue watching is Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz Party, which is aligned with the EPP. Orban on Thursday met with Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the populist Lega (League) party who last month launched his European Alliance for People and Nations group. If the Hungarian leader is wooed into joining Salvini's EAPN group, the centre-right EPP could see its lead pipped by the S&D group.
For a full breakdown of European Parliament seat projections by country, see the chart below:
The flow chart below illustrates how projected votes have evolved since the 2014 European Elections.
The data in the European Parliament projection is collected by Europe Elects and is based on publicly available opinion polls about voting intentions and election results in countries of the EU28 (member states of the European Union without the United Kingdom). In cases where no European election opinion poll is available, opinion polls for national elections were used. In cases where no opinion pollings on voting intentions were published since the last national election, the election result is used. For more information on the methodology, please visit Europe Elects.