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Populists expected to gain seats in May's EU elections

The European Parliament is predicting that nationalist, populist and anti-migrant groups will make significant gains in the May 23-26 EU elections but says it thinks mainstream parties will keep control over the assembly.

Projections released Thursday suggest the center-right European People's Party will remain the biggest group, with 180 seats in the 751-seat parliament, down 37 seats. The center-left Socialists and Democrats would drop from 186 to 149 seats.

The Europe of Nations and Freedom group, which combines right-wing and far-right parties like Italy's Liga, Britain's UKIP and France's National Rally would win 62 seats, compared to 37 currently.

Far-right candidate of the National Rally party Nicolas Bay, speaks during a media conference for the upcoming European elections next month in Strasbourg, eastern France, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP PhotoJean-Francois Badias)

New parties like former UKIP figurehead Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, which are listed as "other," are expected to expand from 21 seats to 62.

The data is collected from national surveys and assumes that Britain will participate.

Far-right top candidate of the National Rally party Jordan Bardella, speaks during a media conference for the upcoming European elections next month in Strasbourg, eastern France, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP PhotoJean-Francois Badias)

Far-right leader of the National Rally party Marine Le Pen, speaks to reporters after a media conference for the upcoming European elections next month in Strasbourg, eastern France, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP PhotoJean-Francois Badias)