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Voting begins in Europe amid Brexit, right-wing growth

By
Sommer Brokaw
The Conservative Party of British Prime Minister Theresa May, who failed to solidify Brexit before the European elections began Thursday, has polled at 10 percent compared to Nigel Farage's new Brexit party, which has polled at more than 30 percent. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
The Conservative Party of British Prime Minister Theresa May, who failed to solidify Brexit before the European elections began Thursday, has polled at 10 percent compared to Nigel Farage's new Brexit party, which has polled at more than 30 percent. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

May 23 (UPI) -- Voting began Thursday in the European Union elections despite tensions with right-wing, nationalist parties' growth after the 2016 Brexit vote.

Polls were open in Britain and the Netherlands, though most countries will vote Sunday and results won't be clear until Monday morning.

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Voters will decide who sits in the 751 seats of European Parliament over the next five years, will approve the bloc's $150 billion budget and pass laws affecting some 500 million people.

Failure in solidifying Brexit before elections has led to Britain's participation with the rest of the European Union in elections.

The EU also has dealt with a refugee crisis and terrorist attacks on its soil since the last election in 2014.

A new Brexit Party, which Nigel Farage leads, has polled at more than 30 percent, well ahead of the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Theresa May, which polled at 10 percent.

In the Netherlands, the far-right Forum for Democracy, led by Thierry Baudet, 36, came in first in provincial elections earlier this year and now is projected to gain as many seats as the ruling party.

The party's slogan, Dutch First, mimics President Donald Trump's words, "America first," and the campaign similarly emphasizes negative aspects of migration.

Nationalist, Euroskeptic parties are predicted to win about 35 percent of the vote across the continent.

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