At elections for the European Parliament, a predicted surge by populists and nationalists failed to materialise, though such parties gained seats in Italy and Britain. The new parliament will be much more fragmented than the old one, thanks to a strong showing by green and liberal parties. The traditional main groupings, the centre-right European People’s Party and the centre-left Socialists and Democrats, both lost ground, falling well below a combined majority of the chamber for the first time.
Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, said he would call a snap election after his left-wing Syriza party flopped in the Euro polls. In Austria, Sebastian Kurz lost a vote of confidence thanks to the break-up of his coalition with the hard-right fpo, so a fresh election will be held there, too. In a state election in Bremen, Germany’s Social Democrats lost for the first time in 70 years.
Romania’s ruling party did terribly in the European elections. The next day its leader, Liviu Dragnea, was jailed for corruption.
Theresa May said she would resign as Britain’s prime minister, after repeatedly failing to deliver Brexit. The 12-week-old Brexit Party won the most votes of any party at the European elections in Britain. The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats and Greens won more votes than the Brexit Party but fewer seats. The traditional parties of government, the Conservatives and Labour, did miserably.
Britain’s Labour Party expelled Alastair Campbell, a former adviser to Tony Blair, for backing the Liberal Democrats in the European elections. Party members who make anti-Semitic comments have seldom been dumped so swiftly. Several other prominent Labourites also backed other parties, mostly over Brexit.
Brazil’s supreme court ruled that discriminating against gay or transgender people is equivalent to discriminating on grounds of race. Homophobic and transphobic acts are to be punished under existing laws banning racial discrimination until Congress passes a bill. Brazil legalised same-sex marriage in 2013, but at least 420 gay people are thought to have been murdered last year.
Mexico charged Emilio Lozoya Austin, a former head of Pemex, the state-run oil company, with fraud. It is the first big case brought by the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose campaign last year promised to crack down on corruption.
All of the top leaders of Amnesty International, a human-rights group, offered to resign after an internal review uncovered a “toxic” workplace culture, including reports of bullying.
Back to the polls!
The Israeli Knesset voted to hold a fresh election in September, five months after a poll in April, as talks led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to put together a new coalition government failed. The sticking point was an attempt to end the exemption from the military draft for ultra-Orthodox Jews, which their parties refused to countenance. Mr Netanyahu pushed for a new election rather than let another party try to form a government. It is the first time in Israel that a governing majority has not been formed after an election.