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Eurosceptic UKIP wins European elections in Britain, pro-European party suffers "huge setback"

English.news.cn   2014-05-27 05:11:06
• UKIP won 27.5% of the votes and beat traditional mainstream parties for first time in national election.
• Farage said his party will become a "serious player" in Britain's 2015 general elections.
• Cameron said UKIP's wins were a result of the public disillusionment with the current European Union.
 
 

LONDON, May 26 (Xinhua) -- British Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the pro-European Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said Monday his party suffered a "huge setback" in the European elections, as the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) has wiped out most of its seats in the European legislature.

By Monday afternoon, UKIP has won 27.5 percent of the votes and prevailed over all the other political parties by increasing its Members of European Parliament (MEPs) seats from 13 to 24, beating the traditional mainstream parties for the first time in a national election.

The Liberal Democrats, which formed a coalition government with Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party in 2010, has seen its vote share halved to a mere 6.9 percent and lost all but one of its 11 seats announced so far in the European legislature.

The Liberal Democrats is seen as the most pro-European mainstream political party in Britain, and Clegg joined two face-to-face debates with UKIP leader Nigel Farage earlier this year to defend Britain's European Union (EU) membership.

It is "gutting" and "heartbreaking" to see Liberal Democrats candidates, councilors and MEPs lose their seats, said Clegg, a vocal advocate for British integration into Europe, on British national TV.

He said there has been a very sharp turn to the right, in some cases the far-right, not only in Britain but also across Europe.

Following the electoral defeat, Clegg has been under mounting pressure to step down as the party leader, but the deputy prime minister said he will not "walk away."

The Liberal Democrats, a social-liberal political party in Britain, was established in 1988 by the merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party.

In 2010, it became the third-largest party in Britain's House of Commons after winning 57 seats with 23 percent of the votes in the general elections that year.

The Liberal Democrats joined a coalition government with the Conservatives, with Clegg becoming Deputy Prime Minister.

Following a string of victories in European and local elections, Farage said Monday that UKIP has become the third political force in Britain and aspired to have its first batch of members of the British Parliament next year.

"This party has done something that hasn't been done for over a hundred years: We have won a national election in this country, and I am immensely pound of that achievement," Farage said in his victory speech on Monday.

"It is an earthquake in British politics, it is a remarkable result, and it does have profound consequences for the leaders of the other parties," he added.

On Friday, Farage said his party will become a "serious player" in Britain's 2015 general elections, aiming to bring the country into an era of "four-party politics".

The Labor Party and the Conservatives, the two major parties that have dominated British politics in the past century, won 25.4 percent and 23.9 percent of the votes respectively, coming second and third with 20 and 19 seats.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose Conservative Party lost 7 seats in the elections, said that UKIP's wins were a result of the public disillusionment with the current European Union.

"I think the results show a very clear message, which is that the people are deeply disillusioned with the European Union, with the way it is working and with the way it is working with Britain, and they want change," Cameron was quoted by BBC as saying.

The prime minister highlighted the need for his party to demonstrate that "we have that plan to deliver that change, to renegotiate Britain's place in Europe, to get a better deal for Britain, (and) to change Europe."

Cameron has promised to offer an in or out referendum on Britain's EU membership before the end of 2017 if his Conservative Party wins next year's general elections.

Britain's component of the European Parliament elections, with 73 MEPs up for grabs, was conducted in 12 electoral regions across the country on May 22.

Results for England and Wales were announced by each electoral region individually after 10 p.m. on Sunday, while those from Scotland and Northern Ireland started coming out on Monday.

The 751 MEPs elected across the European Union this year will take up their seats from July, shaping European legislation and influencing European policies in the next 5 years.

Related:

European Parliament elections underline need for EU reform: David Cameron

LONDON, May 26 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday said the turnout and results in the European Parliament (EP) elections underlined the need for reforming the European Union (EU), urging European leaders to show that the EU cannot be "business as usual."

Cameron made the remarks in a set of planned phone calls to his European counterparts, including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, ahead of the informal European Council in Brussels on Tuesday. Full Story

Editor: Yamei Wang
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