European Elections Deepen Divisions in National Capitals

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Vote for European Parliament became a referendum on countries’ leaders.

The outcome of the weekend’s European Union elections threatened a fresh period of instability in the bloc, with some countries set for early elections and coalition governments in Italy and Germany facing deeper strains.

As final results trickled in Monday, there was relief in Brussels that the vote didn’t yield a broad anti-EU nationalist surge. The Greens performed particularly strongly and pro-European lawmakers are set to form a clear majority in the new European Parliament.

Still, the EU faces continued political volatility and the results in many countries—including the departing Britain—suggested voters remain disillusioned and divided.

“The electorate is crying out for change and is therefore volatile—preferring to back new insurgents rather than the status quo parties that have been around for decades,” said Mark Leonard, founding director of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

On Sunday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose Syriza party was firmly defeated in the EU vote, called snap elections before summer. Austria was already headed for the polls after Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz on May 18 dissolved his coalition. On Monday afternoon, Mr. Kurz was toppled by a no-confidence vote in parliament. …

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