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EU at 'crossroads' in high-stakes European Parliament election

Voters in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Malta and Latvia cast ballots Saturday in the European Parliament elections in which resurgent nationalists are challenging traditional parties that want continued close ties among EU countries.The stakes for the European Union are especially high in this year's vote, which is taking place in all of the EU's 28 nations on different days from Thursday to Sunday. Voters are electing 751 lawmakers, with each nation apportioned a number of seats based on its population.Anti-immigrant and far-right groups are hoping to gain ground in the European Parliament and use it to claw back power from the EU for their national governments. Moderate parties, on the other hand, want to cement closer ties among countries in the EU."We stand at a crossroads — that is, whether the EU is going to be stronger and more integrated or, quite the contrary, a process of its weakening is to begin," Zuzana Caputova, Slovakia's president-elect, told reporters after voting in the town of Pezinok.A Slovak far-right party that openly admires the country's wartime Nazi puppet state could win seats in the European Parliament for the first time. Its members use Nazi salutes, blame the Roma minority for crime, consider NATO a terror group and want the country to leave the Western military alliance and the EU.Far-right party in Slovakia expected to win EU seatsPolls in Slovakia favour the leftist Smer-Social Democracy party, the senior member of Slovakia's current coalition government, to win the most votes. But the polls also suggest that the far-right People's Party Our Slovakia will win seats in the European legislature for the first time.In neighbouring Czech Republic, a centrist party led by populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis is expected to win the most votes, despite the fact that Babis is facing fraud charges involving the use of EU funds. Babis wants his country to r ...Read more

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