BRUSSELS – Across the European Union, a three-month campaign has begun ahead of May's election for the European Parliament, a massive exercise in democracy that spans 27 nations and close to half a billion people.
This year could be a tipping point in post-war European politics. Some traditional political powerhouses might start to crumble and extremist, populist parties might gain more clout to throw a wrench into the EU's political machinery.
The next parliament will have 705 seats, since Britain is due to leave the bloc in March and won't be taking part in the May 23-26 vote.
The parliament predicts the center-right Christian Democrat EPP group will remain the largest party ahead of the center-left Socialist S&D. But the EPP is torn by internal strife, which also symbolizes the political battle of the continent.