By the end, it was painful to watch Theresa May in action. Her decision to throw in the towel, finally, came with a sense of relief. It is a miracle that she even survived so long.
At her final EU summit, when she persuaded fellow EU leaders to grant the UK an extension, Mrs May gave the most painfully uncomfortably press conference this reporter has ever witnessed. The self-described ‘bloody difficult woman’ had been reduced to a husk, her self-confidence shot to pieces.
She leaves the Tories, a party she has devoted her life to, facing an existential crisis. The Tories are set to fall to around 6 or 7% when the European elections are announced, and could end up losing all their MEP seats.
While most Tory MEPs will be happy to see the back of Mrs May, the troubles that they, and the country, face will not go away in the next two months.
May’s successor, who could well be Boris Johnson, will face the same dilemma of not having a governing majority, but having to satisfy a bitterly divided party, and also extricate the UK from the EU.
They will also have to ward off the threat posed by Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, which could put them out of business for a generation, or even longer. The prospect of the Tories forming an electoral pact with the Brexit party through sheer necessity to survive is very real.
Reports suggest that the leadership contest to succeed her will not be completed until September, leaving May as a caretaker prime minister.
May’s legacy will be that of a failed prime minister who was brought down by her party’s divisions on Europe, just like her predecessors. The fact that she leaves her party and country in a weaker, chaotic and divided state than she inherited will cause this dedicated, if ill-equipped, public servant more pain than anything else.
Make an impact: go vote!
If you want a Europe powered by renewables, vote in the European elections on 23-26 May. Every vote counts. The higher the turnout, the more likely we will get a pro-renewables Parliament. You, your friends, your family and your colleagues can all make a difference. Find out how.
By Alexandra Brzozowski
Elections for the European Parliament in 28 member states are underway. EURACTIV will be on the frontline, reporting from the Parliament and the national capitals with election updates. Follow us here in our live blog for the news as it happens.
While the Dutch exit polls have boosted the chances of a ‘progressive alliance’ in the future European Parliament, the French far-right tops the current poll turning the EU vote into a Le Pen/Macron duel.
The race for the EU top jobs heatens up! Familiar faces and new names will be competing for the EU’s top jobs, as capitals are starting to manoeuvre and prepare the ground for their preferred candidates, EURACTIV has found out after talking to EU officials and diplomats.
While UK’s Theresa May announced to resign as Conservative party leader on 7 June, phased EU-wide elections take place in Ireland after a campaign dominated by concerns over neighbouring Britain’s messy bid to leave the bloc.
Lithuanians choose a new president in a tight runoff between two centre-right rivals, an ex-finance minister and a political newcomer, in a race dominated by concerns over economic inequality in the Baltic eurozone state.
In a shift since the last European Parliament elections, mainstream parties have adopted climate change as a rallying cry – spurred in part by a wave of student strikes.
The construction of a gas pipeline in Europe has rarely caused as much heated dispute as Nord Stream 2. EURACTIV went to the source to explore the implications of Russia’s controversial pipeline project.
Kazakhs will vote for a new President on 9 June and, for the first time since the country’s independence. Diplomats say the winner will certainly be Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, but six other candidates have joined the race.
Look out for…
As Europe heads to the polls, follow our coverage here in our live blog for the news as it happens during the election weekend.
Meanwhile, have a read through our latest national election story straight from Rome.
Views are the author’s