In violation of EU rules, the Netherlands has released early results in European elections. They indicate that fringe groups, including a far-right party, have taken a large percentage of the vote.
Some 375 million people are eligible to vote in EU elections
With 92.1 percent of the Dutch vote counted, the right-wing Dutch Freedom Party emerged Friday as the first shock success in the EU-wide parliamentary elections. According to the preliminary results released early Friday in the Netherlands, the populist party won 16.9 percent of the vote and would receive four seats in the European Parliament, becoming the second-strongest Dutch faction after the Christian Democrats.
Geert Wilders' right-wing Dutch Freedom Party will take 4 of the 25 seats alloted to the Netherlands
The Dutch have ignored demands from the European Commission urging them not to count the ballot boxes before that time. The release of the provisional results before the EU-wide polling end on Sunday night is a violation of EU rules.
The Christian Democrats dropped from seven to five seats, though still remain the biggest Dutch party in the European Parliament. The Labor Party held on to three of its previously seven seats.
The Netherlands and Britain were the first countries to begin voting for the European Parliament, on Thursday. Irish and Czech voters go to the polls Friday.
Germans will head to the polls on Sunday
Turnout for the European elections is expected to be higher in Ireland than in any other EU member state. Two-thirds of Irish said they would definitely vote, according to a TNS opinion poll published by the European Parliament on May 26. The EU average is 43 percent.
Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and Italy begin voting on Saturday. On Sunday the remaining 19 EU nations - including Germany, France, and Spain - go to the polls.
Editor: Nancy Isenson
The trip from Donetsk to Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine is like a journey into a different country. The further one travels, the more apparent this becomes. DW's Roman Goncharenko describes a warzone without frontlines.
Ukraine and Russian officials have denied responsibility for a deadly assault on a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine. The mayor of the city where the attack occurred has reportedly called on Moscow for help.
Ukraine has accused Moscow of interfering in restive eastern cities in a bid to restore the Soviet Union. The warning was echoed by Ukrainian religious leaders who traded accusations with their Russian counterparts.
Christians are celebrating Good Friday in honor of the crucifixion of Jesus. In the Philippines, nine men were nailed to crosses in a bloody annual spectacle before thousands of onlookers.