Citizens of 27 nations begin voting today for elections to the European Parliament, and across the continent voters are expected to punish ruling parties and encourage the opposition, including the extreme right. From Ireland to France to Hungary, governments are braced for a protest vote spurred by the economic meltdown, reports the Wall Street Journal. The most closely watched result will be in Britain—where a poor showing for the Labour Party could force Gordon Brown out of office.
Despite the growing power of the 736-seat Brussels legislature, turnout is normally low for European elections, which begin today and end on Sunday. Besides Britain, another closely watched result will come from Germany, where the European vote may hint at Angela Merkel's reelection chances this September. Polls have predicted a breakthrough across Europe for populist right-wing parties, including that of Geert Wilders, the Dutch MP whose anti-Islam film caused an uproar last year.