Sunday 13 May 2012

European politics at turning point?

Whoever thinks that the recent defeat of conservative parties in local and presidential elections heralds the ascendancy of the left should pay close attention to the recent state elections in Germany. The received wisdom would expect an increase in votes for the LEFT party (or 'Linksparty') which has roughly similar policies to the Syriza party in Greece.

In fact however German state elections have catapulted an obscure and hardly 'left' party into the political limelight: the Pirate Party, an amalgam of right wing madcaps and computer freaks. The Left Party failed in all recent state elections to gain parliamentary seats, and dropped well below the threshold of 5 percent.

It seems that the most recent elections across Europe dance to a different tune than that cheerfully offered by Miliband and his socialist colleagues: it is incumbents that are being pushed out of office and the anti-establishment parties that garner a considerable protest vote. Politics and governments across Europe may become that much more difficult as voters look for alternatives outside the conventional party political spectrum.

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