http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090607/ap_on_re_eu/european_elections BRUSSELS – Conservatives raced toward victory in some of Europe's largest economies Sunday as initial results and exit polls showed voters punishing left-leaning parties in European parliament elections in France, Germany and elsewhere. Some right-leaning parties said the results vindicated their reluctance to spend more on company bailouts and fiscal stimulus amid the global economic crisis. First projections by the European Union showed center-right parties would have the most seats — between 263 and 273 — in the 736-member parliament. Center-left parties were expected to get between 155 to 165 seats. Right-leaning governments were ahead of the opposition in Germany, France, Italy and Belgium, while conservative opposition parties were leading in Britain and Spain. Greece was a notable exception, where the governing conservatives were headed for defeat in the wake of corruption scandals and economic woes. Germany's Social Democrats headed to their worst showing in a nationwide election since World War II. Four months before Germany holds its own national election, the outcome boosted conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's hopes of ending the tense left-right "grand coalition" that has led the European Union's most populous nation since 2005.