The next European Parliament election will be taking place between 23 and 26 May 2019, five years since European voters last went to the polls. In the run-up to the election, the project European Election 2019 Monitor will be keeping track of how social democratic parties are faring across all EU member states. The project covers all EU social democratic parties that sit with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D group) in the European Parliament.
This map shows the results of S&D member parties in the most recent national parliamentary elections. (For a summary of socialist/social democratic parties’ status in national parliaments in 2018, i.e. whether they are the sole governing party, senior or junior coalition partner, or in opposition, see the overview produced by the FES project Social Democracy Monitor.) No further national elections are taking place in 2018. In 2019, national parliamentary elections will be held in Estonia (3 March), Finland (14 April), Belgium (26 May, in parallel with the European election), Denmark (by 17 June at the latest), Poland (autumn), Greece (by 20 October at the latest) and Portugal (by October at the latest).
This map shows the results of the S&D member parties in the 2014 European Parliament election. It also shows the seats won by national social democratic parties in each individual EU member state and the total number of seats available for that state. At the last European Parliament election in 2014, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) won 25.43% of votes cast across Europe, making it the second-biggest group in the European Parliament behind the European People’s Party (29.43%). The S&D group is the only group in the European Parliament with members from all 28 EU member states.
Map 3 is the heart of the European Election 2019 Monitor project. It shows the latest poll figures for social democratic parties in the EU (based on aggregates of the most recent available data). Further information on sources and methodology can be found below. There are also links to the raw data for each country in the information on individual countries.
This map shows the difference between the latest national poll figures for the social democratic party (or parties) in each EU member state and the results of the most recent national parliamentary election. It thus provides a rough visualisation of trends within specific EU member states and changes in support for individual parties.
Like Map 4, this map shows the difference between the latest national poll figures for the social democratic party (or parties) in each EU member state and the results of the last European election. It thus provides a rough visualisation of changes in support for individual parties, and allows initial predictions and forecasts to be made for the upcoming European elections in May 2019. However, the limitations of attempting to extrapolate European election results from national poll figures should be borne in mind (see section 3 “Sources” for further information).
There are two Belgian parties belonging to the European social democratic family: the Parti Socialiste (PS, Socialist Party), which stands in the Francophone regions (Wallonia and Brussels) and the German-speaking Eastern Cantons, and the Socialistische Partij Anders (sp.a, Socialist Party Differently), which stands in the Flemish-speaking region. Both parties were formerly part of the nationwide Belgian Socialist Party (founded 1885) until it split in 1978.
Currently, both of Belgium’s social democratic parties are in opposition. In December 2018, the Neu-Flämische Allianz (N-VA, New-Flemish Alliance) left the governing coalition over the government’s decision to sign UN’s Global Compact on Migration. Henceforth, Prime Minister Charles Michel is leading a minority government consisting of four parties.
The next federal parliamentary elections are taking place on 26 May 2019 (like in 2014, in parallel with the European Parliament election). In the 2014 European election, the two social democratic parties won a combined total of 18.9% of the vote and are represented by four MEPs in the S&D group.
In 2001, the social democratic Bulgarska sotsialisticheska partiya (BSP, Bulgarian Socialist Party) formed an alliance with several other left-wing parties known as Koalizija za Balgarija (KB, Coalition for Bulgaria; in 2017 renamed BSP for Bulgaria). In Bulgaria’s current parliamentary term, which began with the snap election on 26 March 2017, the social democrats are in opposition. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2021. In the European Parliament, the coalition has a total of four MEPs in the S&D group.
Although Denmark’s social democratic party Socialdemokratiet (party letter A, Social Democrats) won the most votes in the last national election in 2015, they are currently in opposition. The country is ruled by a minority government by the centre-right Venstre party. In the 2014 European elections, the party won 19.1% of the vote, giving it three MEPs in the S&D group. 2019 will be an interesting year for Denmark, since in addition to the European elections in May, national parliamentary elections will also have to be held by no later than 17 June.
The German delegation in the S&D group is made up of 27 MEPs from the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD, Social Democratic Party of Germany). This makes it the second-biggest national delegation in the S&D group. Following the elections in September 2017, the SPD has been the junior partner in a grand coalition at national level. The next German Bundestag elections are scheduled for autumn 2021.
The Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond (SDE, engl. Social Democratic Party) from Estonia belongs to the European family of Social Democrats in the S&D fraction. The last national elections took place at the beginning of March 2019. The Social Democrats have lost a significant share of their vote and, after their time as junior partners in the governing coalition from 2015-2019, are likely to remain in opposition in the coming years until the parliamentary elections in 2023. At the European level, the SDE is a member of the S&D fraction. Two elections are scheduled for 2019 in Estonia, the next national parliamentary elections on 3 March and the election of the European Parliament in May 2019.
The Suomen sosialidemokraattinen puolue (SDP, Social Democratic Party of Finland) suffered a historic defeat at the most recent national parliamentary elections in 2015. Following the worst result since its founding, the SDP now sits in opposition in the Finnish parliament. The party also performed poorly at the 2014 European Parliament elections, winning just 12.3% of the vote, and has been represented by two MEPs in the S&D group since then.
The presidential and national parliamentary elections in spring 2017 led to a complete upheaval of France’s political landscape. The formerly dominant parties, the conservative Republicans and the centre-left Parti socialiste (PS, Socialist Party), suffered historic defeats. In the national parliamentary elections, the Socialists won just 7.4% of the vote. The party fared far better in the European elections back in 2014, where its vote share of 13.9% saw the PS returning 13 MEPs to the European Parliament.
In autumn 2017, Greece’s traditional main social democratic party PASOK merged with the liberal party To Potami, the centre-left party DIMAR and other small parties from the centre-left spectrum to form Κίνημα Αλλαγής/Kinima Allagis (KA, Movement for Change). PASOK previously had an electoral pact with DIMAR for the parliamentary elections in September 2015. At the time of the European election in 2014, however, the two parties were still standing separately. The electoral coalition Olive Tree – Democratic Alignment, comprising PASOK and other small parties, secured an 8% vote share and returned two MEPs to the European Parliament. To Potami achieved 6.6%, thus also electing two MEPs. All four are members of the S&D group. In 2019, Greece will be holding fresh national parliamentary elections as well as the European Parliament election.
The Páirtí an Lucht Oibre (Labour Party) is the social democratic party of the Republic of Ireland. At the parliamentary elections in February 2016, Labour received just 6.6% of the vote. Prior to the election it had been part of the governing coalition, but now sits in opposition. The Irish Labour Party currently has one MEP in the S&D group.
With 31 MEPs, Italy has the largest national delegation in the S&D group. The vast majority come from the Partito Democratico (PD, Democratic Party). At national level, the PD has suffered heavy losses in recent years. In March 2018, it won a vote share of just 18.7% in the parliamentary elections and is now in opposition.
The Croatian delegation in the S&D group is made up of two MEPs from the Socijaldemokratska partija Hrvatske (SDP, Social Democratic Party of Croatia). The SDP is the second-largest party in the Croatian parliament, securing 33.8% of the vote at the last election, and is the country’s main opposition. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2020.
The Latvian members of the S&D group are from the Sociāldemokrātiskā Partija “Saskaņa” (SDPS, Social Democratic Party “Harmony”). The SDPS is one of the EU’s newest social democratic parties. It was founded in 2010 out of a merger between its predecessor, the Tautas Saskanas partija, the centrist Jaunais centrs and the Sociāldemokrātiskā partija (SDP). In January 2011, the Daugavpils pilsētas partija also joined. Although the SDPS is the largest group in the national parliament, with 23 out of 100 seats following the elections in October 2018, it will probably not enter government. In 2014, the party won 13% of the vote in the European elections.
In Lithuania, there have been two social democratic parties since 2018. In the 2016 parliamentary elections, the Lietuvos socialdemokratų partija (LSDP, Social Democratic Party of Lithuania) came third. It initially joined the government as junior coalition partner. When the new party leadership decided to pull out of the government in September 2017, a majority of LSDP parliamentary representatives chose to continue supporting the government, leading to a split in the parliamentary group. In March 2018, breakaway LSDP members joined with former members of the Darbo partija (Labour Party) to found the Lietuvos socialdemokratų darbo partija (LSDDP, Social Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania).
The maps show the figures for the LSDP, since it is unclear which group the LSDDP would join in the European Parliament. The heavy losses shown in maps 4 and 5 are due in part to the split in the social democrats. The two parties are almost neck and neck in the latest polls. In the European Parliament, the LSDP has two out of 11 Lithuanian MEPs.
Luxembourg’s social democratic party is the Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Aarbechterpartei (LSAP, Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party). Between 2013 and 2018, it was a junior partner in coalition with the centre-right Democratic Party and the Greens. In the national parliamentary elections in October 2018, the LSAP’s vote share dropped by 2.7%. Negotiations over a continuation of the previous governing coalition are still ongoing. At European level, the LSAP is represented by one MEP in the S&D group.
Most polls for the Luxembourg parliamentary elections are not expressed in terms of vote share percentages (as is the norm elsewhere), but rather in terms of seat distributions. Since the results for social democratic parties in all other EU member states are shown on the maps in percentages, polls with percentage distributions have also been used for Luxembourg. The last known such poll was conducted in December 2017 by the French polling company IFOP, available here. The result of the October 2018 election, in which the social democrats won 17.6% of the vote, has been used as the most up-to-date reference figure in lieu of a poll until new polls with percentage figures are available.
By far the most successful social democratic party in Europe is Malta’s Partit Laburista (PL, Labour Party). At the parliamentary elections in 2017, the PL secured 55% of the vote, allowing it to govern without a coalition partner. The party was also very successful in the 2014 European elections, with a vote share of 53.3%, and returned three MEPs (half of Malta’s total), who sit with the S&D group.
At the last Dutch elections in March 2017, the social democratic Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA, Labour Party) came seventh with a vote share of just 5.7%, the worst result in the party’s history and one that has emphatically consigned it to opposition. In the most recent European elections, the PvdA received a vote share of 9.4%, meaning the party is currently represented by three MEPs in the S&D group.
Following the snap parliamentary election in October 2017, the Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs (SPÖ, Social Democratic Party of Austria) went from being in government to being the main opposition (as the second-largest parliamentary party). In May 2014, the SPÖ returned five MEPs to the S&D group.
At the last national parliamentary elections in 2015, the social democratic Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej (SLD, Democratic Left Alliance) won 7.6% of the vote, just short of the 8% threshold required for multiparty coalitions, which means that the social democrats are not currently represented in the national parliament. In the European Parliament, the SLD has three MEPs, who belong to the S&D group.
One of Europe’s more successful social democratic parties at present is the Partido Socialista (PS, Socialist Party) in Portugal. Since 2015, it has been running a minority government backed by the two left-wing parties in parliament, and its poll ratings have been rising steadily. At European level, the PS is represented in the S&D group by eight MEPs.
With 45% of the vote, the Partidul Social Democrat (PSD, Social Democratic Party) was the clear winner in the 2016 parliamentary elections. It is now the senior partner in the current governing coalition. In the European Parliament, the PSD, and with it the S&D group, holds nearly half of Romania’s seats (14 out of a total of 32).
Sweden’s most recent parliamentary elections were held on 9 September 2018. The Socialdemokraterna (S, Social Democratic Party) won 28.4% of the vote. While the previous term saw a minority coalition consisting of Socialdemocrats and Greens that was backed by a confidence and supply agreement with the Left Party, this cooperation could not be resumed after the 2018 elections. Given the strong performance of the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats, both of the traditional parliamentary blocs fell short of majority. After more than half a year of negotiations and multiple failed attempts to form a government, a minority government consisting of Socialdemocrats and Greens was formed at the end of January 2019. The coalition’s inauguration was supported by Liberals as well as the Swedish Centre Party thus constituting a breach with the long-standing tradition of bloc politics.
Despite haemorrhaging votes at the most recent elections in 2016, the social democratic Smer – sociálna demokracia (Smer-SD, Direction – Social Democracy) remains the largest party in the Slovakian parliament. It is the senior partner in a coalition with the Hungarian minority party Most–Híd and the centre-right SNS. Prime minister Robert Fico was forced to resign in May 2018 in the wake of a national political crisis, and was succeeded by his deputy Peter Pellegrini. A total of four Slovakian MEPs from the Smer party sit with the S&D group in the European Parliament.
Slovenian voters elected a new parliament on 3 June 2018. The Socialni demokrati (SD, Social Democrats) made moderate gains compared with the 2014 elections. The SD is in government as part of a five-party coalition, supported by a confidence and supply agreement with the Left Party (Levica). At European level, the party has one MEP in the S&D group.
In Spain, social democratic values are championed by the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE, Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) represents the social democratic basic values. After a vote of no confidence against the conservative Mariano Rajoy, the Social Democrats have ruled with a minority government since June 2018. Since then, the PSOE's poll results have risen significantly. After the regular cycle, the next parliamentary elections would take place in 2020, but new elections can be expected in Spain. In view of the failed budget vote in mid-February 2019, new elections are expected on 28 April or 26 May. Prime Minister Sánchez announced the dissolution of parliament for mid-March. 14 of the 54 Spanish MEPs in the European Parliament belong to the S&D fraction.
The Česká strana sociálně demokratická (ČSSD, Czech Social Democratic Party) suffered a heavy defeat in the parliamentary elections in autumn 2017. The party, long one of the dominant forces in Czech politics (senior partner in the government from 1998-2006 and 2014-2017) , won just 7.2% of the vote. It is currently the junior partner in a minority government. The ČSSD has four MEPs, who sit with the S&D group.
At European level, there are two Hungarian parties belonging to the S&D group: the Magyar Szocialista Párt (MSZP, Hungarian Socialist Party) and the Demokratikus Koalíció (DK, Democratic Coalition). For this reason, the maps above show the combined results and poll numbers for both parties. The DK was founded in 2011 after splitting from the MSZP. In the parliamentary elections in April 2018, the MSZP (in an electoral alliance with several other parties) won 12.35% of the vote, while the DK achieved 5.58%. Both parties are in opposition. Since the 2014 European elections, they have each been represented by two MEPs in the S&D group.
The Labour Party (Lab) champions social democratic values in the United Kingdom. Although the party improved its vote share in the snap election in June 2017, it remains in opposition after the Conservatives reached an agreement with the Northern Irish DUP to prop up a minority government. Labour still has a sizeable national delegation in the S&D group, with 20 MEPs. As a result of the Brexit vote, however, the UK – and hence Labour – will most likely not be taking part in the European elections in May 2019.
The most recent parliamentary elections in Cyprus took place in June 2016. The Kinima Sosialdimokraton (EDEK, Movement for Social Democracy) is the fourth-largest party in parliament, with five seats. The much-larger Dimokratiko Komma (DIKO, Democratic Party) also belongs to the S&D group in the European Parliament, but is regarded at national level as more of a liberal party. EDEK and DIKO each have one MEP in the S&D group, thus accounting for one third of Cypriot MEPs between them.
The maps draw on an extensive pool of data.
Map 1 – results of S&D member parties in the most recent national parliamentary elections:
The data was sourced from the project Poll of Polls, which aggregates polling data, and the overview of European social democratic/socialist parties’ status in national parliaments in 2018 produced by the FES project Social Democracy Monitor.
Map 2 – results of S&D member parties in the 2014 European election:
The data is based on the results of the 2014 European Parliament election. The results can be viewed on the European Parliament website.
Map 3 – latest poll results for S&D member parties:
The poll figures come from the project Poll of Polls, which aggregates national polls and summarises the results in the form of tables and graphs. The aggregated data is usually based on polls from several different polling companies, since individual polls are often misleading and can have a high error rate. The polling companies included for each country are listed under the information on individual countries.
Poll of Polls is updated almost daily with the latest political polls for each EU member state. It uses data from poll aggregation projects such as wahlrecht.de (Germany), Britain Elects (UK) and neuwal.com (Austria). More information can be found here.
Map 4 – comparison between latest national poll figures for S&D member parties and most recent national election:
The figures shown in Map 4 were calculated based on the difference between the latest national poll figures for the social democratic party (or parties) in each EU member state and the results of the most recent national parliamentary election.
Map 5 – comparison between latest national poll figures for S&D member parties and the 2014 European election:
The figures shown in Map 5 were calculated based on the difference between the latest national poll figures for the social democratic party (or parties) in each EU member state and the results of the 2014 European election.
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