Farage comeback: Brexit Party ahead in the polls

The Brexit Party of far-right populist Nigel Farage is only a few months old and has no proper agenda, but it is leading in the polls and stands to win over 30 percent of the votes in the UK's European elections. Voters' revenge, Tory fiasco, EU tragedy? The commentators' predictions are dramatic.

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De Tijd (BE) /

Resentment completely underestimated

Voters will use the election to settle scores with the traditional parties, De Tijd predicts:

“In Britain the European elections seem to be crystallising into an opportunity for voters' to wreak revenge against the traditional parties for failing to bring the Brexit to a satisfying conclusion. It's a rebellion by the voters, who can no longer identify with the traditional parties. Naturally Farage is exploiting populist resentment that the parties' have ignored the result of the Brexit referendum because the elite is for 'remaining'. But this just shows that the traditional parties completely underestimated the profound dissatisfaction of the voters.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Farage is cannibalising the Tories

The Tories are facing disaster, Corriere della Sera's London correspondent Luigi Ippolito warns:

“In the European elections the party of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher now faces the prospect of trailing behind Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and even the Greens with just ten percent of the vote. A disaster that has two main causes: David Cameron and Theresa May, the two most incompetent politicians ever to lead the Tories. Cameron because he held a referendum on the key question of Europe for purely domestic reasons, May because she has been unable to carry out the one task she was charged with, namely Brexit. This fiasco is an elixir for Farage, who is cannibalising the Conservatives by promising an uncompromising withdrawal from Europe.”

Les Echos (FR) /

Better off without

Why on earth is Britain taking part in the European elections, groans Etienne Lefbvre, editor-in-chief of Les Echos:

“This election has all the elements of a bad farce and could end in tragedy for Theresa May. She already believes there's another conspiracy underway in her own camp to replace her immediately after the election. For the European Union too, this is a tragedy: the Parliament is now threatened with the arrival of candidates from the list of the extremist Farage who won't miss the opportunity to have their say in the debate about the multi-year budget and the nominations for top EU posts. The delay of Brexit, which we would have been better off without, is leading to an election we would have been better off without.”

The Independent (GB) /

Why are pro-EU parties not forming an alliance?

The Independent laments that pro-EU parties are not joining forces against the Eurosceptics:

“If the Lib Dems, Change UK and the Greens, with their indistinguishable EU sensibilities, joined forces for the European elections, their aggregated support would (according to one poll) make their alliance competitive. … Separately, they will at best struggle for any parliamentary impact, and vanish at worst. Together, they might have a significant role as refuge from the chaotic realignment that seems imminent either side of them.”