TIME brazil

Brazil Presidential Candidate Dies in Plane Crash

Former governor of Pernambuco state and Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) presidential candidate Eduardo Campos campaigns in Brasilia, Brazil on Aug. 6, 2014.
Former governor of Pernambuco state and Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) presidential candidate Eduardo Campos campaigns in Brasilia, Brazil on Aug. 6, 2014. Eraldo Peres—AP

(SAO PAULO) — Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos died Wednesday when the small plane that was carrying him and several campaign officials plunged into a residential neighborhood in the port city of Santos, a City Hall official there said.

All seven people aboard the plane, including a campaign photographer and cameraman, a press advisor, as well as two pilots, died in the crash, City Hall press officer Patricia Fagueiro told The Associated Press.

In a statement on her official blog, Rousseff declared three days of official mourning in honor of Campos and said she would suspend her campaign during that time. “All of Brazil is in mourning,” the statement said. “We have lost a great Brazilian.”

Polls show Campos, the scion of a political family from the northeastern state of Pernambuco, was running in third place, trailing far behind Rousseff and another political rival. But his Brazilian Socialist Party ticket was widely regarded as among the best-placed to challenge Rousseff and her popular Workers Party, thanks largely to his running mate, the popular former Environment Minister Marina Silva, who joined Campos after she was prevented from running herself.

Silva’s press adviser said that she was on the way to Santos, but it was not immediately clear whether she would assume Campos’ spot as the party’s presidential candidate.

Brazilian television broadcast a continuous loop of images of the wreckage, a smoldering pit in between buildings of several stories, with emergency response officials picking through the rubble. Brazil’s top broadcaster Globo ran interviews with eyewitnesses who reported the plane was already ablaze before the crash that took place at around 10 a.m. local time (9 a.m. EDT).

Aeronautical authorities said the craft, a Cessna 560XL, was attempting to land in bad weather.

It was not immediately clear whether anyone on the ground was injured in the crash, which reportedly at least partially damaged a gym, local media reports said. The plane took off from Rio de Janeiro, where Campos had appeared in an interview on Globo’s nightly news on Tuesday, and was headed to the city of Guaruja, where he was to give a talk about Brazil’s ports.

Top Brazilian politicians expressed their shock and sorrow over the accident, with Vice President Michel Temer calling it a “tragedy for Brazilian politics.”

“Eduardo Campos was a politician of principles and values,” Temer wrote on his website. “Along with the entire country, I am shocked by this accident and by the loss for friends and family.”

Eliseu Gabriel, a Sao Paulo city councilman who heads Campos’ PSB in Sao Paulo, said the party has yet to make any decisions on how to move forward, saying only the campaign was “stopping” for the moment.

“The campaign was about to start, and he had a big chance of making it to the second round” of Brazil’s two-round race, Gabriel said. “Eduardo Campos represented a great hope for a profound change in Brazilian politics.”

Campos, 49, was married and the father of five children, the youngest of whom was born in January. The heir of a political dynasty that stretched back to his grandfather, he served two terms as governor of Pernambuco state.

Campos was widely seen as one of three serious contenders for the presidency, although polls consistently showed him in third place. A survey by the Datafolha polling agency released Wednesday ahead of the accident showed 8 percent of those questioned said they intended to vote for Campos, compared with 36 for Rousseff.

TIME Japan

Japanese PM Abe’s Security-Policy Shift Blamed for Local Poll Loss

Japan's PM Abe delivers an address to both houses of parliament in Australia's House of Representatives chamber at Parliament House in Canberra
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers an address to both houses of parliament in Australia's House of Representatives chamber at Parliament House in Canberra July 8, 2014. Lukas Coch—Reuters

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces backlash just weeks after reversing Japan’s security policy

The first signs of a backlash against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have appeared since he dramatically changed the country’s defense policy earlier this month.

Abe’s party, the Liberal Democrats, lost a gubernatorial election in Shiga prefecture in what is perceived as a protest vote against the July 1 ending of the country’s ban on “collective self-defense,” reports Reuters.

The pacifist policy has defined postwar Japan, but Abe argued that the nation needs a new security policy in the current political climate, hinting at territorial disputes with China. In response, however, voter support for the 59-year-old Premier has already dropped below 50%, according to a recent public-opinion survey.

Abe is not up for re-election until 2016, but three other prefectures will elect governors later this year. Japan will also have several more polls next April.

The ballot also revealed divisions within the Japanese electorate regarding the East Asian nation’s nuclear policy following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown.

Many voters in Shiga prefecture are wary of the Prime Minister’s plans to restart nuclear reactors in neighboring Fukui prefecture. By contrast, Shiga’s new governor, Democratic Party member Taizo Mikazuki, called for Japan to reduce its reliance on nuclear power.

[Reuters]

TIME France

France’s Far Right Could Benefit From Sarkozy’s Legal Woes

Nicolas Sarkozy
Sarkozy's legal cloud puts his political future in doubt Kenzo Tribouillard—AFP/Getty Images

The former French President is under investigation, putting his political future under a cloud—and giving Marine Le Pen an opening

Even in a country where political scandals are a constant, the French were stunned to see their former President Nicolas Sarkozy hauled into a police station on July 1 for 15 hours of interrogation. Sarkozy was brought before judges well after midnight that day, where he was formally placed under investigation for corruption and influence peddling, relating to suspicions that Sarkozy had tried to wrest information from a senior judge about a legal case being built against him. An exhausted-looking Sarkozy was shown on television in the back of a police car, clearly shaken by his ordeal. “Is this normal?” Sarkozy asked in a national television and radio interview on the evening of July 2—his first such Q&A in two years—that had millions of viewers spellbound. “I’m profoundly shocked at what has happened.”

But besides his shock, Sarkozy, who lost his reelection bid to President François Hollande in 2012, might already be plotting his next political move—a move that could involve casting himself as the victim rather than the villain in his latest legal drama. As the French absorbed the newest accusations against Sarkozy, the ex-president has emerged in this week’s blanket media coverage as a lone wolf up against the establishment. That’s an ironic twist for a politician whose image as the consummate insider partly led to his reelection defeat. Two days after Sarkozy’s 15-hour police grilling, Sarkozy watchers say they believe he has several options ahead—not all of them bad. “He could become chief of the opposition in fighting both Hollande and the judges,” Christophe Barbier, editor of the French newsweekly L’Express, told TIME on Thursday. “That seems the most probable solution.”

Sarkozy has faced so many investigations since winning the presidency in 2007 that he and his lawyer had tried to avoid surveillance by using prepaid telephones registered in other people’s names. Police tapped those phones, however, leading them to focus on whether the two men tried to wrangle details about the case against Sarkozy from a top appeals-court judge—the subject of his grilling on Tuesday. The charges could lead judges to bring the case to trial, with Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog potentially facing a five-year sentence and a $680,000 fine if found guilty. To say the least, that would hugely complicate Sarkozy’s ambitions for a comeback against the beleaguered President Hollande in the 2017 elections.

Even if the former president beats this new investigation, however, it is not his only legal battle. Last year, investigators finally dropped charges alleging that Sarkozy took advantage of the aging billionaire L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt by taking millions of euros from her to fund his 2007 presidential bid. But they are still probing allegations that Sarkozy sought some $68 million for his 2007 campaign from then-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi—the investigation in which he is now suspected of interfering with the senior judge.

But this week’s grilling cuts to the heart of a deeper issue, and it is one that rankles French voters: whether the alleged behavior of Sarkozy was just business as usual for the country’s famously cloistered elites. It could be “simply part of the bullying tactics of people in power that have been tolerated so far,” says Agnès Poirier, author and columnist for the political magazine Marianne, writing in the Guardian on Wednesday. Sarkozy, says Poirier, has regularly demanded information from officials about investigations against him, including once calling the head of the French intelligence service. “If nothing else, this new episode is shedding some more light on “‘le système Sarkozy,'” Poirier said.

Still, Sarkozy is hardly ready to hang it up politically. After laying low for Hollande’s first year in office, he has spent months angling for a return, and has said he intends deciding his next moves—including a possible presidential bid—by summer’s end. Enraged and combative on television on Wednesday night, Sarkozy nonetheless worked hard to dismantle the image of himself as someone accustomed to special access. He called the new charges “grotesque,” but quickly added, “I’m not demanding any privilege.” His voice dropping to a low rasp, he said, “If I have made mistakes I will face the consequences.”

Yet some of the consequences of Sarkozy’s legal battles are already contributing to the deep disarray of French politics. Sarkozy fares much better than President Hollande in most polls, and the former president is popular among many UMP voters, with supporters mobbing him on the sidewalk after his interrogation on Tuesday. Yet the UMP is locked in its own struggle for power. Jean-Francois Copé was appointed as leader only after bitter infighting. Since he resigned in May three former prime ministers have been running the party in an awkward, interim arrangement, as they wait to see what Sarkozy will do.

In fact, there is only one clear winner in this political upheaval: Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, which won the most French votes in the European Union elections in May, and which grabbed nearly one-quarter of the votes in France’s municipal elections last March, largely by slicing off support by disaffected UMP-ers. Pitching the two major parties as corrupt and ineffectual, Le Pen has soared in the polls. She told TIME in May that she believes she is headed for the top, that she intends running for president and that she believes that “the National Front will be in power within 10 years.”

Barbier, editor of L’Express, believes that much will depend on whether Sarkozy can cast himself as a new man: calm and reflective, rather than the volatile, temperamental man the French remember from his time in office. “If he is more calm, more tranquil, if he goes into it in that style,” Sarkozy could perhaps prevail, Barbier says. He believes Sarkozy’s first move might be to take back control of the UMP, and knock it into shape, ready for the presidential race in 2017.

Sarkozy’s makeover might already have begun. After a mostly combative TV interview on Wednesday night the former president struck a more conciliatory tone afterwards, tweeting: “I love my country passionately and I am not a man to be discouraged.” His supporters hope that passion and tenacity will be enough to carry their man through.

TIME 2014 Election

More Bad News for Democrats in 2014 Battleground States

A new survey of likely voters in 12 key Senate races shows the electorate continues to skew Republican

A new survey has more bad news for Democrats running in key battleground states this November.

The poll by Resurgent Republic and Democracy Corps, Republican and Democratic research firms, respectively, found that President Barack Obama’s approval rating in 12 states with the most competitive Senate races is only 38%—3 points lower than his national approval number.

Recent headlines surrounding the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap, the Veterans Affairs and IRS scandals, and the initially botched rollout of the health care reform law haven’t helped: 57% of voters consider them to be “real problems that raise serious doubts about the competence of the Obama Administration.”

“That is a problem for the Obama Administration,” Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who worked on the survey, told reporters Thursday. “But it is a problem for the Democrats running for reelection in these battleground states because the reputation of the President always overshadows midterm elections.”

While the slew of scandals may not drive voters to the poll, Ayres said, the results make it difficult for incumbent Democrats to stand with the President on key issue.

And Republicans have the upper hand when it comes to party trust on key issues, according to the survey: 50% of all voters favor Republicans’ handling of foreign policy, 16 percentage points higher than their trust in Democrats. The split is less dramatic on the economy, with 47% of voters trusting Republicans, compared to 37% trusting Democrats. Among independents, who often cast the key swing votes in close races, 48% say they trust Republicans handling of the economy while only 28% trust Democrats.

Even on health care, Republicans are favored, albeit slightly: 45% of all voters trust Republicans to handle health care and 41% of voters trust Democrats.

The problem for Democrats is more their weakness than Republicans’ strength.

“There is enormous frustration… for Congress in general,” Ayres said. “But the Republican leaders in the House are not on the ballot in these… battleground states.

“The playing field,” Ayres added, “looks more promising for Republicans than any time in recent memory.”

TIME Congress

Raul Labrador Running for Majority Leader

Raul Labrador
Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, is interviewed by Roll Call in his Longworth Building office on February 4, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) Tom Williams—CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

The Idaho Tea Party favorite would challenge Whip Kevin McCarthy

Idaho Republican Raul Labrador is running for Majority Leader next week, he announced Friday. The move establishes him as a Tea Party rival to Whip Kevin McCarthy, the establishment favorite.

“I was stunned when Eric Cantor lost his primary election earlier this week,” Labrador said in a statement. Eric is a good friend and I have tremendous respect for him. But the message from Tuesday is clear – Americans are looking for a change in the status quo.”

His entry shakes up a race where in the last 24 hours both of McCarthy’s top rivals have dropped out, leaving McCarthy unopposed.

Labrador is popular with the 170-member conservative Republican Study Committee and would represent the Tea Party alterative to McCarthy. Though McCarthy has bragged to colleagues that he has a majority of the 240-member conference sewn up, the ballot is secret and many in the conference have wanted to see greater Tea Party representation in leadership.

The special election, to be held June 19, will replace McCarthy’s mentor Eric Cantor, who lost his primary to a Tea Party insurgent on Tuesday.

If elected, Labrador, 46, would be the first Hispanic majority leader, the first Mormon majority leader and the first majority leader from Idaho. He also hails from a solid Red State, which is important to some members who have complained that most of the leadership comes from Blue or Purple States. Labrador’s rise would be even more meteoric than McCarthy’s, as he was only elected to Congress in 2010.

TIME Asia

Here’s Why Some Indonesians Are Spooked by This Presidential Contender

Retired general Prabowo Subianto rides a horse at a stadium in Jakarta during a campaign rally of the Gerindra party on March 23, 2014 Kyodo / AP

Prabowo Subianto is vying to become President of the world's most populous Muslim nation. But many feel he has yet to adequately explain rights abuses that took place when he was head of the country's special forces 16 years ago

Some Indonesians refuse to forget. It’s been 16 years since retired general Suharto relinquished power, but relatives of those who perished or disappeared under his oppressive rule continue to stage protests at Freedom Square in the capital Jakarta every Thursday. Maria Katarina Sumarsih has only missed 12 such gatherings over the past eight years. Her son, a humanitarian volunteer during the 1998 student uprising, was shot dead when he attempted to tend to a wounded protester. Sumarsih is still waiting for justice to be meted out to those responsible.

“Indonesia is the third biggest democracy in the world, but I and all my friends here feel we’ve been abandoned,” she says, adding that she’s afraid the situation could get worse. “If Prabowo becomes President, the population should be prepared to become victims of human-rights violations again.”

Indonesia has come a long way since Suharto. The military has been pushed out of the political scene, the freedoms of press and speech have vastly improved, and July 9 will mark the first time the country replaces one directly elected President with another. For human-rights advocates, however, a huge question mark hangs over the head of one of the leading candidates, Prabowo Subianto.

Toward the end of Suharto’s rule, military units abducted and tortured 23 democracy activists, 13 of whom have not been seen since. Riots followed, leading to over a thousand deaths and scores of rapes. One of the men accused of having orchestrated these abuses is Prabowo — then commander of the special forces.

If Indonesia has come far since Suharto’s rule, so has Prabowo. When Suharto fell in May 1998, Prabowo was head of the army strategic-reserve command, but quickly found himself discredited and discharged from the military, upon which he went into self-imposed exile. Today, he’s refashioned himself as a decisive political leader, the champion of rich and poor alike, and a well-oiled campaign has catapulted him to social-media fame, with a Facebook following that trails only the likes of Barack Obama and Narendra Modi. While Prabowo has admitted to abducting nine activists in 1998, he denies wrongdoing, insisting that these individuals were released and that he was only following orders. He has never been officially questioned, and many Indonesians turn a blind eye to the disputed episode.

“Young people just idolize a leader that looks strong and assertive, they don’t even have the imagination to understand what it was like to live under an authoritarian leader,” says Margiyono, a student activist during the Suharto years. Prabowo’s Great Indonesia Movement Party, or Gerindra, has even managed to attract some former abductees to its camp, but for people like Margiyono, the possibility of Prabowo becoming national leader brings back dark memories.

Agitating for East Timorese independence and Indonesian democracy in the 1990s, Margiyono clashed with paramilitaries believed to be under Prabowo’s command on several occasions, and his flatmate was one of the abductees who never returned. Earlier this year, Margiyono left his job in journalism to start a support organization for Prabowo’s presidential rival Joko Widodo, the Jakarta governor popularly known as Jokowi — not because Margiyono is a Jokowi fan, but because he’s afraid of what would happen if Prabowo wins.

“[Prabowo is] Suharto’s son-in-law, they’re ideologically the same,” he says. “The problem is that under Suharto, formal education taught us what it was like to live under [Suharto's autocratic predecessor] Sukarno, but [today's] reform government doesn’t teach us about the democracy situation under Suharto.”

A recent poll by the Indonesian Survey Institute discovered that about 70% of respondents were unaware of the allegations against Prabowo or his discharge from the army. Consequently, he presents to the public those aspects of his military past that suit him. On the campaign trail, he plays the part of the strongman. He has been known to enter a stadium, packed with supporters and uniformed party cadres, in semifascist splendor astride a handsome horse. And he frequently peppers his speeches with anti-Western statements and criticism of multinationals, styling himself as a reborn Sukarno, even dressing like modern Indonesia’s founding father. His supporters sport T-shirts featuring a trendy graphic image of Prabowo wearing Sukarno’s favored peci, or traditional cap.

However, pressure is mounting on Prabowo to clarify his role in the troubles of 1998. A leaked document is currently circulating on the Internet, saying that Prabowo was discharged, among other things, for insubordination after ordering special-forces units to arrest and detain activists. Separately, a group of human-rights advocates has launched a court challenge aimed at bringing Prabowo and others to trial. A former major general, Kivlan Zen, has also come forward, stating that he knew who abducted the missing activists, as well as where they are buried, but he has yet to be officially questioned.

“This new fact gives a political opportunity for us human-rights activists,” says Rafendi Djamin, director of the Human Rights Working Group. “There should be action from the relevant state institutions.”

Worryingly, in 2009 the Indonesian parliament voted in favor of setting up an extraordinary court to deal with the allegations against Prabowo, but President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has yet to sign off on the proposal.

“It’s a serious issue that Prabowo has been recognized as a presidential candidate before settling these allegations of crimes against humanity,” says Rafendi. “There is a need to clarify this as soon as possible, not only for the relatives of the victims, but for the whole country, to make sure this kind of crime doesn’t happen again.”

Dodi Ambardi, executive director of the Indonesian Survey Institute, believes chances of such clarification are slim. His institute conducted a survey of people who know about the allegations against Prabowo, and found that the majority were willing to forgive him.

“To a large extent, the human-rights allegations are a middle-class issue,” says Dodi. “Prabowo attracts many voters locally because he’s seen as the candidate of the Islamic community and because he presents himself as a national hero.”

The Gerindra party’s savvy campaigning has managed to secure a diverse voter base. Coalition building with Islamic parties has won it the religious nod. The co-opting of nationalist symbols, like the mythical garuda bird, ticks nationalist boxes, as does Prabowo’s military and his claims to an aristocratic lineage. A video made by party supporters to Pharrell Williams’ viral hit “Happy” gave his image a modern gloss, as did his appearance on the recent final of Indonesian Idol to hand out prizes.

Fadli Zon, the deputy chairman of Gerindra, says the allegations of rights abuses are outdated.

“These human-rights cases aimed at defaming Prabowo are continuously recycled,” he tells TIME. “But people are smart, so it will have no influence on our campaign.”

Campaign managers are even happy to play off the accusations. Gerindra has published a book called Kidnapped by Prabowo, describing it as “a story based on real events,” and featuring a striking cover of a frightened man being grabbed from behind. When readers open the book, however, they learn that this is not an account of activist abductions but a parable of how an ordinary man is brought into Prabowo’s life, and gets to see the great man from behind the scenes.

Noudhy Valdryno, the head of Gerindra’s social-media team, says he relishes the opportunity to explain to Indonesia’s digital-savvy youth that in 1998 Prabowo was a military leader defending the security interests of his country. “If they start arguing with us, we get the chance to explain more, so it’s a win-win situation for us,” he says.

As a result of this clever and aggressive campaigning, Jokowi’s once gaping lead has been reduced to 10% with only a month left to go, and Prabowo’s repeated assertions of his innocence could further narrow that gap. On Monday night, as the two presidential candidates squared off in their first televised debate, the notoriously temperamental Prabowo got emotional when answering a question on his human-rights position from Jusuf Kalla, Jokowi’s running mate.

“I understand where you’re going with this: whether I would be able to protect human rights because I am a human-rights violator,” said Prabowo. “Is that what you’re getting at, sir? Mr. Jusuf Kalla, I take responsibility, and my conscience is clear: I am the strongest defender of human rights in this republic.”

Many Indonesians believe him.

TIME States

Blue States Barack Obama Won in 2012 Have More Rich Than Red States

The states with most poor residents tend to vote red, and those with the richest vote blue.

States that voted for Democrat Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election have, on average, a higher percentage of households that make $150,000 per year, and a lower percentage of households that make $25,000 or less per year, than the red states that supported Republican Mitt Romney, according to U.S. Census data collected by research engine FindTheBest. Morethan150k

Note, the U.S. Census defines household as people who occupy a single housing unit.

The data shows that the percentage of households in blue states that make over $150,000 per year—11%—is slightly above the national average of 9.4%.

Blue states also account for all but one of the top 17 states by percentage of households in the highest income bracket, with Alaska (12.8%) being the only red state to make the list. Red states, on the other hand, fall slightly below the national average, at 6.9%, and account for all but one (Maine, 5.6%) of the bottom 12 states by percentage of households making at least $150,000 per year.

So which states have the most (and least) households making $150,000?

The highest earner is D.C.—a blue district, not a state—where 20 percent of households make over $150,000 per year. One secret to D.C.’s high income might be its high concentration of well-educated individuals, where 53% of the population holds a bachelor’s degree, well above the national average of 28%.

Ranking in spot two is New Jersey, where 18% of households make over $150,000 per year. Once you factor in the cost of living however, those high incomes don’t sound quite as lofty. 68% of homeowners—compared to the national average of 32%—spend more than $2,000 in homeowner costs per month.

At the bottom of the list is West Virginia, where only 3.9% of households are in the highest bracket. It’s also dead last for well-being out of all 50 states, according to the 2013 Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index.

Scroll over any state in the map below to find the percentage of households in the $150,000 or higher income bracket.

FindTheBest also crunched the numbers for percentage of households making below $25,000 per year. lessthan25k

States that voted blue ranked better than red states for percentage of households making $25,000 or less per year (21.6% vs. 25.9%); putting blue states 1.7 percentage points below the national average of 23.3%, and red states 2.6 percentage points above it.

Additionally, whereas the highest earning states were almost completely blue, the lowest earning states are almost completely red—New Mexico (with 28.3% making $25,000 or less) being the only blue state among the 14 lowest earners.

As for the poorest states?

West Virginia comes close to ranking the most poorly again, with 32% of households making less than $25,000, but Mississippi (also ranking poorly on the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index, in 48th place) outpaces it, at 34%.

To see the percentage for every state, scroll over the map below.

TIME Syria

Syria’s Assad Joins the Presidential Selfie Club

Assad Selfie
This handout picture released by the official Facebook page of Syria's First Lady Asma al-Assad shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) posing for a selfie with a group of youths after casting his vote at a polling station in Maliki, a residential area in the centre of the capital Damascus, in the country's presidential elections on June 3, 2014. AFP/Getty Images

A picture uploaded to the Syrian first lady's Facebook page shows Bashar Assad crowding into the frame with a group of young people as voting begins in the country's presidential election, which Western observers assume will be rigged in Assad's favor

TIME European Union

Concerns in Europe After Far-Right Gains in E.U. Elections

French far-right Front National party president Marine Le Pen reacts at the party's headquarters in Nanterre, outside Paris, on May 25, 2014.
French far-right National Front party president Marine Le Pen reacts at the party's headquarters in Nanterre, outside Paris, on May 25, 2014. Pierre Andrieu—AFP/Getty Images

Although mainstream parties remain in control, significant gains made by Euroskeptic and anti-immigrant party wins in last week's elections to the European Parliament have raised fears of increasing isolationism within the E.U.

Far-right and Euroskeptic party gains across Europe in Sunday’s European Parliament elections have caused alarm among supporters of a closely integrated E.U.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz described the result as “a bad day for the European Union,” while French President François Hollande announced Monday talks immediately labeled a “crisis meeting” by local media.

Henri Malosse, the president of the European Economic and Social Committee, warned that “this may be the last European election if Europe does not change.”

Parties opposed to the E.U. made notable gains in staggered voting that began last Thursday. Marine Le Pen, leader of the French rightist National Front — the big winner in France with 26% of the vote — claimed the result showed that French voters demanded politics “of the French, for the French, with the French.”

“The sovereign people have proclaimed that they want to take back the reins of their destiny into their hands,” she said.

At the same time, the reluctance of Euroskeptic parties to work with the far-right shows that they are careful not to entirely alienate mainstream voters. The fiercely anti-E.U. United Kingdom Independence Party (more commonly known by its initials UKIP) is projected to win the U.K. elections but has already ruled out cooperating with the ultra-right National Front, a British party whose founder recently suggested that the Ebola virus might prove a solution to the immigration problem.

The leader for the Euroskeptic Alternative for Germany, Bernd Lucke, sent out the same message. “We won’t work with right-wing populists,” Lucke told Associated Press.

Far-right parties lost ground in the Netherlands but made significant gains in Denmark and Greece. Simon Usherwood, an expert on European politics at the University of Surrey in England, told CNN that extremist groups stood to benefit in the coming five years.

“They will get time for speaking in debates, the chairmanship of certain committees, which means that they’re going to have much more of a platform on which they can sell their message to voters,” he said.

TIME Ukraine

Immediate Challenge for Ukraine’s President-Elect

Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko leaves a booth before casting his vote at a polling station in Kiev on May 25, 2014 Gleb Garanich—Reuters

Early Monday hostilities by pro-Russian separatists have thrown down the gauntlet to the President-elect, who has promised to quickly end the conflict and create a single, united Ukraine. Pro-Russian separatists engaged security forces in a skirmish at an airport in Ukraine's most populous province on Monday

Armed pro-Russian separatists arrived at Donetsk airport early on Monday, demanding Ukrainian forces to withdraw, causing an immediate headache for Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko, who said his first priority would be to end the conflict in the country’s east.

Officials said there had been “shots and confrontation” and that all flights had been suspended at Sergei Prokofiev airport, which serves Ukraine’s most populous province.

Poroshenko claimed victory in Sunday’s election, based on exit polls. At a victory rally in Kiev, the 48-year-old said, “The first steps of our entire team at the beginning of the presidency will concentrate on ending the war, ending the chaos, ending the disorder and bringing peace to Ukrainian soil, to a united, single Ukraine. Our decisive actions will bring this result fairly quickly.”

Voter turnout was about 60%. The distant second-place candidate, Yulia Tymoshenko, said the democratic and fair election in the face of “the current aggression by the Kremlin” was “evidence of the strength of our nation.”

Voting was, however, severely disrupted in the restive east. Only 426 of 2,430 polling stations were open in Donetsk province, and no stations opened in the provincial capital, also called Donetsk. Polling booths failed to open in the city of Luhansk, a separatist stronghold.

Some 20 people have died in battles with security forces in recent days, with insurgents having unilaterally declared independence from Ukraine. The region has been in turmoil since the popular ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych in February and the Russian annexation of Crimea in March.

Poroshenko said he would strengthen ties with the E.U. and that he would never recognize Russia’s “occupation of Crimea.”

A day before the vote, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would “cooperate with the authorities that will come to power as a result of the election,” however he added that he still considered Yanukovych to be Ukraine’s legitimate President.

Former world-champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, who was one of the leading figures in the Euromaidan movement that brought down Yanukovych, claimed that he had won Kiev’s politically significant mayoral election, also based on exit polls.

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