News | Political Parties / Election Analyses - Europe2024 The European Left after the Elections

Strong showings in several countries will ensure a continued presence in Brussels, but the internal contradictions are bigger than ever


Walter Baier, European Left candidate for President of the European Commission, speaks at a campaign rally in Ljubljana, 26 February 2024.


  Photo: European Left

The winner of these European elections for the Left is the Finnish Left Alliance, or Vasemmistoliitto, with its lead candidate Li Andersson. With an election result of a spectacular 17.3 percent (polling predicted around 11), the Left Alliance has shown how a clear stance on the wars in Ukraine and Gaza can be successful. Thanks to a well-orchestrated nationwide campaign, Vasemmistoliitto managed to assert itself as the second-strongest force in the country in difficult times.

Johanna Bussemer directs the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s Europe Unit in Berlin.

The Finnish party shares support for weapons deliveries to Ukraine on the one hand and a policy of solidarity with Palestine on the other with its Swedish sister party, Vänsterparti, which also achieved a very good result with 10.9 per cent.

In France, La France Insoumise (LFI) also achieved a stable result with 9.9 percent. However, the Communist Party (PCF), which counted 19 Members of the European Parliament at the end of the 1970s, failed to cross the electoral threshold for the second time in a row. The snap elections now called by Emmanuel Macron will once again hinge on the question of a unified left-wing camp. This is because it is possible that the Socialist candidate Raphaël Glucksmann will make it to the run-off with Marine Le Pen instead of Macron should the LFI and the Greens support him. An alliance between all left-of-centre parties, as was unfortunately tried unsuccessfully last year with the joint NUPES programme, could be the only chance of stopping a France governed by the far right.

The Cypriot AKEL even achieved 21.5 percent, but lost one of its previous MPs.

The results for Sinn Féin in Ireland are not yet available, but it is to be expected that they will also have very good results and a larger group of MEPs. Sinn Féin adopts a left-social democratic line in the European Parliament, but the goal of promoting Irish unity dominates its agenda. Although there has been some speculation, it is likely to remain in The Left group in the European Parliament, despite the party’s emphasis on Irish reunification.

In other western and southeastern European countries, left-wing parties scored between around 4 and 8 per cent. For example, the Spanish left-wing alliance Sumar under charismatic Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz only achieved 4.7 percent of the vote. Díaz subsequently resigned from her posts at Sumar, but remains Minister of Social Affairs and Labour in Spain’s government. Sumar and Podemos did not run together. Podemos achieved 3.3 percent and therefore secured as many seats in the European Parliament as Sumar. The Portuguese Left Bloc, or Bloco, also did worse than before with 4.3 percent of the vote, losing one of its previous two seats. The Danish Enhedslisten was able to hold on to its seat with 7 percent, but were unable to match the success of their Scandinavian neighbours.

For Levica, which currently has three government ministers in Slovenia, the 4.8 per cent it won was not enough for a seat in the EP. In Poland, on the other hand, the social-democratic left-wing alliance Lewica won three seats. The former member of the Sejm and openly gay politician Robert Biedroń will certainly enter the EP with two other colleagues. However, it is completely unclear which political group they will join.

Bold left-wing unity is urgently needed, especially now in light of the glaring shift to the right across Europe.

For Greece and Germany, the split between Die Linke and Syriza will change a lot in terms of the parties’ representation in the European Parliament: Syriza, which is increasingly social-democratic following the split but — according to rumours — will not be accepted into the Socialists & Democrats group, will continue to be represented with four seats. The left-wing splinter party Nea Aristera and Yanis Varoufakis’s MERA25, on the other hand, failed to cross the electoral threshold with 2.5 percent each. On the other hand, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which has been modernizing in recent years, is once again represented with two candidates.

Only three candidates of the German Left will continue to form a parliamentary group with many of their sister parties. However, conflicts could arise here, particularly in European foreign policy with regard to Ukraine, the Gaza war, relations with Russia, and the issue of military co-operation.

The Scandinavian parties have shown that their progressive political style and their clear stance on Ukraine and the Gaza conflicts, coupled with clear positions on climate, can be successful, and will want to exert greater influence on the direction of The Left group. This could lead to conflicts with the equally strong group of La France Insoumise and Bloco, also with in terms how to deal with the European institutions. However, the often-publicized proximity of the Left Bloc and LFI to the Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW) is false. A pro-migrant position remains central to left-wing politics in both Portugal and France.

As it is difficult to imagine BSW and Die Linke remaining in the same parliamentary group, it is possible that a second group is emerging, in which the Italian 5 Star Movement could be represented alongside BSW. However, at least 23 MEPs from seven EU member states are actually required to constitute a group. It is possible that Kateřina Konečná, who unexpectedly defended her seat for the Czech Communist Party with the Stačilo! alliance, will join the group.

The Left in Europe therefore will face major challenges with regard to its programmatic unity, but also with regard to forming a group in the European Parliament. Bold left-wing unity is urgently needed, especially now in light of the glaring shift to the right across Europe.

Thanks to the good results of some left-wing parties, the presence of left-wing forces in Brussels remains relatively stable, despite heavy losses for others.

Translated by Loren Balhorn.