Thursday, 29 May 2014

2014 European elections nation by nation-as it happened, part 1

Well, the European elections of 2014 are now finally complete, and here is my analysis of the results, nation by nation:


This was one of the European Green Party's better results- the Greens continue to be on the rise in Austria as they gained an MEP, giving them 3 MEPs in the new European Parliament. Worryingly,though, the radical right Freedom Party of Austria (similar to the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands) gained 2 seats, at the expense of the now almost defunct Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZO) and the Austrian People's Party (OVP), who lost 1 seat apiece. The greatest disappointment here was the disappearance of the Hans-Peter Martin list and the failure of the left-wing Europa Anders list (a coalition of the Pirate Party and Austrian Communist Party) to gain any seats-it scored only 2.14% of the votes cast here.


Notably a strong tale of success for the New Flemish Alliance, who gained 3 European seats and topped the poll in Belgium. Parties losing European seats in Belgium included the Christian Democrats, the Wallonian Socialist Party, the Wallonian Ecology Party, and thankfully Vlaams Belang. Sadly, despite their efforts and rising support, the Workers' Party of Belgium failed to win a single European seat, even for the Francophone college.


 The two most notable events here are the loss of both European seats by the extremist Ataka party, and the gain of two seats by the new Bulgaria Without Censorship (BBT) party, which appears to be liberal and anti-corruption in the style of the Czech ANO party. What is also notable is that even though the Reformist Bloc won a seat, its votes were only 22,000 greater than the number of votes declared invalid.


Alliances were the name of the game in this nation-four multi-party alliances polled strongly in Croatia alone. Six of the 11 European seats in Croatia were gained by the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union coalition- 4 for the HDZ, 1 for the Croatian Peasant Party (similar to the Polish People's Party), and 1 for the more right-wing Croatian Party of rights. It was not a good night for the left in Croatia- the Croatian Labourists lost the seat they gained in 2013 and the Croatian Greens (ORaH) only gained 1 seat. Even the centre-left Croatian Social Democrats and their Kukuriku alliance lost out. At least the right-wing to far-right Alliance for Croatia did not win any European seats either.


No party actually gained or lost seats there, but the significant loss of vote share by the left-wing AKEL (Progressive Party for Working People), and the rise of vote share by centre-right DISY (Democratic Rally) is worrying. Also, turnout dropped sharply in Cyprus from 59.4% in 2009 to just 44% in 2014.

Czech Republic

A prime case of several of how anti-establishment protest votes largely went the wrong way-in this case to ANO which took the Czech elections by storm last year. However, ANO also campaigned for arch-liberal Guy Verhofstadt to be European Commission President, which shows you what ANO is really like, despite its talk to anti-corruption and fighting unemployment.
 Meanwhile, the actually anti-establishment Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia actually lost a seat, bringing it down to 3; the Czech Pirate Party got 4.78% of the vote and just missed a seat, and the Czech Greens also missed a seat despite an improvement in vote share. The heaviest losses went to the formerly governing Civic Democrats, who were reduced from 9 seats to a measly 2, and finished a lowly sixth place in those elections.


Good news for the populist right-bad news for the left. The People's Movement Against the EU (list N), failed to win an extra seat and the EGP-affiliated Socialist People's Party (list F) lost one of their seats, as punishment for their previous alliance with the Social Democrats and Social Liberal Party. The racist right Danish People's Party (list O), topped the poll in Denmark and elected 4 MEPs, taking many votes from the Danish Liberals (list V), and Conservative People's Party (list C) alike. This is also the only nation other than the UK where a Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) list topped the European elections poll.


Not much to say here- apart from the fact the Centre Party lost a seat to the Reform Party, which does not really change anything as both of them are part of the same European Parliament group-ALDE. I am pleased that Green-affiliated independent Indrek Tarand retained his seat. Estonian European Parliament elections have generally featured some quite strong independent candidates compared to most other nations except Ireland.


Despite the Finns Party/True Finns' good performance in past elections, they did not do so well here- they only gained 1 European seat. Finland is also a notable example of Green-Left shifts- the Green League lost a seat and its vote share fell by 3.1%, whilst the Left Alliance gained 3.4% of the vote and won the seat it lost in 2009. The Christian Democrats meanwhile lost their only European seat, presumably due to the True Finns' rise.


Dear oh dear oh dear oh sacre bleu.

The European Parliament election of 2014 will probably be the most notorious one that ever took place in France. The far-right, racist Front National (FN) won 24 European seats in France and topped the poll there. Meanwhile, it was a bad night for everyone else in France- the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) went down from 29 seats to 20, and showing how unpopular Francois Hollande is as French President, the governing Parti Socialiste (PS) finished third and only won 13 European seats. The Greens were decimated in France, going down from 14 European seats to just 6, and the Front de Gauche (FG) failed to capitalise, actually losing 1 seat and going down to 4. This great malaise will not be forgotten for a long time to come, non non non.


Now this one was interesting-especially when the German constitutional court removed the previously extant 3% threshold for gaining European seats, meaning no threshold now existed. The rise of Alternative for Germany (AfD) who may join the ECR group, meant that the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) got its worst ever result in a German European Parliament election, winning only 34 seats compared to the 42 it won in 2009. Their former coalition partners the Free Democrats did even worse, going down from 12 seats to just 3, and putting them in sixth place in terms of seats won. Sadly, the Greens lost 3 of their European seats and even Die Linke lost one seat, and only because of the removal of the 3% threshold.

 With 96 European seats up for grabs in Germany, 7 new parties gained 1 seat apiece. They were the Free Voters (strong in Bavaria), the Pirate Party, the Human Environment Animal Protection Party (an animal welfare party), the National Democratic Party of Germany (unfortunately, as they are essentially neo-Nazi, hence why Chancellor Angela Merkel was so disappointed at the removal of the threshold), the Family Party of Germany (family values party; they have a counterpart in Australia), the Ecological Democratic Party (a centrist splinter from the German Greens), and finally Die PARTEI (a joke party).


Hail to the socialists!

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras did what he needed to in the European Parliament elections in Greece-by topping the poll and winning 6 seats, as compared to the governing centre-right pro-Troika New Democracy which won only 5 seats-down from 8 in 2009. Worryingly, one of the new parties which gained European seats was the extreme-right Golden Dawn, which won 3 seats even though it is the worst of the far-right parties in Europe by a significant margin-it has gone beyond preaching extremist rhetoric and actually attacked (and killed) innocent people simply standing up for a better Greece. Meanwhile, PASOK was rightly decimated, going down from 8 seats to just 2, the same number the new POTAMI party and the old Communist Party of Greece won. The Independent Greeks, connected with EFD, won a seat, whilst sadly the Ecologist Greens of Greece lost their only seat.


As with 2009, the right-wing, Putinesque Fidesz party won the most European seats in Hungary, but it actually lost 2 of them, going down from 14 to 12. The far-right JOBBIK party did not gain or lose any seats and its vote share was largely the same as 2009. Meanwhile, two Green groups, Dialogue for Hungary and Politics Can Be Different, gained 1 seat each, at the expense of the Hungarian Socialist Party, who lost 2 of their 4 seats. The centre-left, somewhat liberal Democratic Coalition (DK) won 2 seats. The Unity pact which existed between centre-left groups at the 2014 Hungarian Parliament election did not survive to see the 2014 European Parliament elections of Hungary. One unfortunate thing about this election is that the hard left Hungarian Workers' Party did not even participate.


Despite the woes of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition currently in office there, Fine Gael did not lose any European seats, although it did not gain any either and its 1st preference votes were down significantly. Sinn Fein were the real winners here, winning 3 seats and being represented in each of the 3 STV European constituencies of Ireland. Meanwhile, Fianna Fail did even worse than in 2009 and were reduced to 1 seat, and Labour lost all 3 European seats. Three independents won, including Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, left-winger Nessa Childers, and liberal Marian Harkin. A split of left-wing votes between People Before Profit and the Socialist Party, which should not have happened, cost the Socialists their Dublin seat.

Part 2 of my analysis is coming up soon.

Regards, Alan.



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