Voter turnout rises for first time ever in EU elections, breaking 50%

People cast their votes at a ballot station
People cast their votes at a ballot station   -  Copyright  REUTERS
By Euronews

The proportion of people turning out to vote in the EU elections has gone up for the first time since the formation of the European Union.

More than half of eligible voters cast their ballots in the European elections this month - the first time turnout has risen since the formation of the European Union.

Since 1979 turnout has been steadily dropping, going from almost 62% in that year, down to a historic low of 42.6% in 2014.

At 50.5%, the projected turnout is the highest for 20 years.

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The conservative and socialist political blocs that have traditionally dominated in the European Parliament - while still on course to claim the most seats - suffered losses nonetheless.

This paved the way for a surge for the liberal and green European parties.

Senior EU figures welcomed the rise in voter turnout, hailing it as a boost to EU legitimacy.Germany's Green party doubled its share of the Sunday vote, leaping into second place behind Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and above the centre-left Social Democrats. France's green party also saw a surge in support, as did Ireland's.

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