EU voting passes halfway mark with Slovakia, Italy joining in

Four days of voting to choose a new European Parliament passed the halfway mark Saturday with Slovakia - shaken by an assassination attempt last month on its premier - and influential Italy joining in.

Most of the European Union's 27 member countries, including powerhouses France and Germany, go to the polls on Sunday, the final day, with projected overall results due late that evening.

Slovakia's voters have rallied to the ruling left-wing populist Smer-SD party in the wake of the 15 May shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico, who blamed the attack on the main liberal opposition and its "aggressive and hateful politics".

Authorities said the assassination attempt, by a 71-year-old poet, was politically motivated.

Fico's party opposes EU arms deliveries to Ukraine and rails against alleged "warmongers" in Brussels.

Those are also positions shared with many, but not all, far-right parties in Europe, which are predicted to make gains in the European Parliament.

Surveys suggest they could grab as much as a quarter of the 720 seats, weakening the centrist mainstream groupings which are expected to still come out on top.

Meloni courted

A key indicator as to the make-up of the new parliament will come from Italy, the EU's third-biggest economy governed by a coalition led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's post-fascist Brothers of Italy.

She explicitly ruled out allying with Marine Le Pen's National Rally in France and Germany's AfD on those grounds.

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