Final votes cast as Europe chooses future course

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(Brussels) – Tens of millions of Europeans voted as 21 countries choose their representatives in a battle between the nationalist right and pro-EU forces to chart a course for the bloc.

Seven EU member states have already voted, and provisional results will be released late on Sunday once the rest of the union has taken part in the European parliamentary election.

Eurosceptic parties opposed to the project of ever closer union hope to capture as many as a third of the seats in the 751-member Strasbourg assembly, disrupting the pro-integration consensus.

The far-right parties of Italian deputy PM Matteo Salvini and France´s Marine Le Pen will lead this charge, and anti-EU ranks will be swelled by the Brexit Party of British populist Nigel Farage.

France´s President Emmanuel Macron has taken it upon himself to act as figurehead for the centrist and liberal parties hoping to shut the nationalists out of key EU jobs and decision-making.

“Once again Macron is daring us to challenge him. Well let´s take him at his word: On May 26, we´ll challenge him in the voting booth,” Le Pen told a rally in France on Friday.