• Short Summary

    Results from Sunday's (10 June) first direct elections to the European Parliament have brought widespread gains to parties of the centre and right.

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    Results from Sunday's (10 June) first direct elections to the European Parliament have brought widespread gains to parties of the centre and right. Election computes predict that the socialists will be the largest single group in the new assembly, but they have lost ground with their representation in the outgoing Parliament. People from five of the nine Common Market countries voted on Sunday after the other four countries had gone to the polls the previous Thursday (7 June).

    SYNOPSIS: These burghers of oberwesel were among millions of West Germans who turned out to vote. The poll throughout the country was just over sixty percent, but, here in the Rhineland Palatinate, polling day coincided with local elections, and figures of up to eighty percent were recorded. Results showed the Christian Democrats scoring a net victory over the centre-left coalition of Social Democrat Chancellor Helmut Schmidt -- a worrying result for the Social Democrats with national elections only eighteen months away.

    The highest turnout figures came from Italy, where the constant terrorist threat did not prevent eighty-six percent of the electorate casting their votes. The Christian Democrats, led by Giulio Andreotti, won thirty of the country's eighty-one Euro-seats, but, as in the recent general election, their share of the vote fell.

    Italy regarded the European elections so seriously that leaders of all the major parties stood as candidates, and Communist leader Enrico Berlinguer was elected to serve in the new assembly. But the poll was another setback for his party, which polled less than thirty percent of the votes.

    In France, the setback suffered by Gaullist Party of former Premier Jacques Chirac was a key feature. the country's list of candidates was topped by Health Minister, Madame Simone Veil, who has been tipped as the country's first woman Prime Minister, and seems likely to be elected President of the new assembly.

    This is Brussels. Another possible candidate for the Presidency is former Belgian Premier Leo Tindemans, Whose personal popularity is thought to have helped the christian Democrats to a good showing in the poll.

    One widespread criticism of the European Parliament is that it has little real power. But EEC President Roy Jenkins feels the new assembly is sure to have more influence over both the Commission and the Council of Ministers.

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