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Predicting the Future: the next European Parliament

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The next European Parliament is predicted to be dominated by the centre-right, according to research by LSE academic Simon Hix.

The Predicting the Future: the next European Parliament report is based upon statistical modeling by Professor Hix and Dr Michael Marsh, of Trinity College, Dublin. It was launched by Burson-Marsteller Brussels on Tuesday 13 April. The model used has proved to be 92 per cent accurate in all previous European elections, and is based on vote share in the last EU elections, vote share in the last national election and which party is in government. The results of the June 2004 European Parliament elections for all 25 member states have been predicted, with major findings as follows:

  • The 2004-2009 Parliament will be dominated by the centre-right, with the European People's Party-European Democrats (EPP-ED) the largest party, with about 285 of the 732 seats in the new parliament, and the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR) in the centre with about 73 seats.
  • The Party of European Socialists (PES) will be the second largest group, with about 217 seats. However, the combined forces of the three left-wing parties - the PES, Greens, and European United Left - should be approximately 296 seats, making the left a realistic challenger to the dominance of the centre right should it act cohesively.
  • On this basis an EPP-ED backed politician is likely to face little difficulty winning approval as the next Commission president. It would not, however, be impossible for a non-Christian Democrat also to win Parliamentary approval as Commission president, with the support of the centre and left.
  • In the day-to-day legislative business of the EU, the ELDR will probably be in a powerful position, able to choose to form coalitions with either the left or the right.

Speaking at the launch of the report in the European Parliament, President Pat Cox said: 'European election campaigns are now more and more about the real issues that have an impact on citizens, and strengthening Europe's role in the world. These election predictions highlight how the Parliament is becoming recognised for the role it plays in policy development in the EU. We must now campaign on the principal European issues which will define the future of the enlarged Europe.'


Contact: Margot Lotz, Burson-Marsteller, + 32 2 7436636, email: Margot_lotz@be.bm.com| 

Press cuttings

Big themes missing from EU vote (8 June 04)
Simon Hix, professor at LSE, comments on the European elections.

International Herald Tribune  
Big issue in EU voting: Who cares? (1 June 04)
European voters on both sides of the former Iron Curtain will make history next week when they cast ballots in the first transcontinental elections for the European Parliament. As for the outcome of the elections, Simon Hix of LSE and Michael Marsh of Trinity College in Dublin have predicted that the center-right parties, under the name European People's Party-European Democrats, would continue to be the single largest contingent in the Parliament, with 285 of the 732 seats. The second-largest group, the professors predict, will be the Socialists.

Strait Times, Singapore
Eurovoters set to punish leaders at landmark polls (30 May 04)
The 350 million due to elect 732 Euro MPs are more likely to use the polls to convey displeasure to their own national parties. Comments from Simon Hix, LSE.

Publico Online, Portugal 
Uma Guerra e Um País Incómodos (28 May 04)
O Iraque, a Turquia e, naturalmente, a Constituição europeia são alguns dos temas que podem mobilizar a atenção do eleitorado em muitos dos vinte cinco Estados-membros da União Europeia. Comments from Simon Hix, LSE, on the European Union, Iraq and Turkey.

Financial Times  
European voters prepare to punish leaders (26 May 04)
Simon Hix, a professor at LSE and co-author of a recent study on the elections, said "Even though it is an election about Europe, in the end it is all about a beauty contest between national leaders and whether voters like the leaders of national parties . . . Who is really going to vote just on the constitution or Turkey?"

Slovak Spectator
Smer would win most seats in EP (20 April 04)
A new study by Simon Hix, LSE, and Michael Marsh, Trinity College, Dublin, shows that the opposition party Smer would win five of Slovakia's 14 seats in the EP.

Times of Malta
AD sees 'tremendous' growth in support (15 April 04)
An independent report by Simon Hix, of the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, and Michael Marsh of Trinity College, gives Alternattiva Demokratika a "tremendous" increase of 850 per cent in its votes in less than a year since the April 12, 2003 general election.

Tories 'on course for poll win' (13 April 04)
An independent report by Professor Simon Hix, LSE, and Dr Michael Marsh, Trinity College Dublin, has predicted that the centre-right will retain the largest share of European parliament seats after June's elections.

Also in (on 13 April 04)

  • ePolitix.com, The Scotsman, Slovak Spectator, Financial Times, Local Government International Bureau, EU Observer, Malta Independent, MaltaMedia Daily News, Times of Malta.

16 April 2004