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There was a collective sigh of relief as results of the European Parliament elections were released. The center-right and center-left parties that have dominated politics in Brussels and Strasburg took a beating, but voters resisted the siren song of anti-European Union populists and turned to other pro-EU parties. The result is a more fragmented majority but one that retains a commitment to the European experiment — and may even ultimately yield a more durable consensus.

The EU elections are the world’s second-largest exercise in democracy; only Indian elections are bigger. Every five years, more than 400 million people are eligible to vote for the 751 European Parliament members. Interest has been dwindling, however, with turnout dropping to a little over 42 percent in the last ballot in 2014. This year, participation jumped to 51 percent, the highest rate since 1994 and the first increase since 1979.

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