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Few Ruling Parties Do Well in EU Elections

June 14, 2004|From Times Wire Services

LONDON — Voters in European Parliament elections rebuffed their leaders in Britain, Italy, Germany and France, projections showed Sunday.

Among the few ruling parties that did well were Spain's Socialists, who recently withdrew the nation's troops from Iraq after a March 11 terrorist attack in Madrid.

In preliminary projections, center-right parties won, taking between 247 and 277 seats in the 732-member European Parliament. The center-left group, which includes British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats, finished second -- with an expected 189 to 209 seats.

In Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia was projected to get 20.5% to 23.5% of the vote, down from 25.2% in the previous European election, according to RAI state TV.

Schroeder's Social Democrats saw their share of the German vote fall to 21.4% compared with 30.7% five years ago, according to ARD TV's exit polls.

In France, President Jacques Chirac's Union for a Popular Movement, with 16.5%, finished behind the Socialists, who got 30%, the Sofres polling firm said.

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