Thursday, 29 May 2014

2014 European elections nation by nation-as it happened, part 2

If you are wondering why I have split my analysis into two blog posts, it is to make them easier to read and less long-winded.

Now continuing from where I left off...


There are several major stories here. The first is the (relative) landslide victory of current Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his centre-left Democratic Party, which won an impressive 40.8% of the vote in European elections in Italy. Initially, Mr. Renzi, the former mayor of the Italian city of Florence, had no mandate as he was not an MP (he was appointed by the Italian President), but he was given a clear one by the electorate. The Five Star Movement's rise under Beppe Grillo is also a top story, gaining 17 European seats from a standing start-although it expected to win 20 or more. The heavy fall of Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia into third place and only 13 seats is one thing I am very pleased for. It represents the end of the former mogul as a viable force in Italian politics, and the humiliations Signor Berlusconi has received can only be defined as his just deserts.

Other good things that happened in the European Parliament elections of Italy this year were the loss of 4 seats by EFD list Lega Nord-they are down to just 5. The Other Europe, affiliated to the left, managed to defy polling expectations and win 3 European seats-sadly, the Italian Greens and Monica Frassoni (a candidate in the EGP primaries, who is also rather pretty) failed to support them and failed to win any seats in their own right. It was another defeat for ALDE-affiliated parties as the Italy of Values list lost all 7 European seats.


Not an inspiring result- the Latvian Socialist Party lost their only European seat and the centre-right Unity Party gained a European seat, giving them 4 in the new European Parliament. The ECR list National Alliance retained their seat as well. At least the EFA list Human Rights in United Latvia retained their seat, whilst the EGP Union of Greens and Farmers list won a seat.


Another disappointment- the Lithuanian Green Party (not to be confused with the Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union, which is EPP-affiliated and centre-right) failed to win a European seat despite their best efforts, with only 3.55% of the votes cast. Both the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats lost seats (2 and 1,respectively), whilst the right-wing Order and Justice Party retained their two seats. In a rare result for ALDE's parties, the Liberal Movement of Lithuania gained a seat.


With only six seats up for grabs, the result here in 2014 was the same as 2009- the centre-right Christian Social People's Party won 3 seats, the misnamed Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party won 1 seat, the liberal Deomcratic Party won 1 seat, and the Greens won 1 seat. It was also a disappointment for the Luxembourg Pirate Party, who won 4.23% of the vote there, not enough to win a seat-one of the best results for Pirate Parties Europe-wide.


Like Luxembourg, Malta sends only 6 MEPs to the European Parliament. It was even split between the centre-right National Party and centre-left Labour Party, who won 3 seats each. The Maltese Democratic Alternative, which is green, came third but did not win any seats,alas.


It was a good night for the liberal, progressive group Democrats 66, who topped the poll in the Netherlands. They only won 4 seats however, compared to the Christian Democratic Appeal's 5, as the CDA ran in a joint list with Christian parties further to the right including the Christian Union and the fundamentalist Reformed Political Party (SGP) to maximise their chances. The Dutch Greens, GroenLinks, made a mistake by having a joint list with the unpopular Labour Party for electoral purposes, which cost them a seat that was gained by the Animal Welfare Party (PvdD). The Socialist Party increased their support but sadly it was not enough to win an extra seat-I was really hoping they would. The Pensioners' Party, 50PLUS was also left disappointed, as they did not quite win a European seat with 3.7% of the vote. 


The conservative nation of Poland shifted further to the right this year- the moderate Civic Plaform lost 6 seats, going from 25 to 19. The more right-wing Law and Justice Party was the party who won at the Civic Platform's expense, raising their total to 18 seats. The centre-left Democratic Alliance actually lost two seats, going down from 6 to 4, and the nasty far-right, libertarian Congress of the New Right (KNP) won its first four seats, despite the grievous misogyny of its leader, Janusz Korwen-Milkke. It was a very bad day for progressive forces in Poland, as the Polish Greens won only 0.3% of the vote, as the Europa-Plus list failed to win any seats, and as the Direct Democracy Party also fared badly with only 0.2%of the vote. This nation has been the only sliver of fortune for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, who Europe-wide have been losing MEPs, left, right and centre (mostly right, of course).


Another good day for the left-mostly. The left-wing Democratic Unitarian Coalition gained a seat,giving it 3, although unfortunately that meant no Portuguese Greens made it to the European Parliament as the first of the Portuguese Green candidates on that list was only placed fourth. The Left Bloc was reduced from 3 seats to just 1-I wonder why,though. The right-wing Portugal Alliance was reduced from 10 seats to just 7, with the Social Democratic Party losing 2 and the People's Party losing 1. Interestingly, a centrist green party, the Earth Party, won 2 European seats, surprisingly, meaning that the centrist greens (as opposed to the left-wing greens in EGP) now have 3 MEPs in total. Disappointingly, though, three other left-wing lists failed to make it into the European Parliament despite strong vote shares by minor party standards- the new, green Livre list, the Party for Animals and Nature, and the far-left Portuguese Workers' Communist Party (PCTP), who polled 2.18%, 1.72%, and 1.46% (better than in 2009,though) of the votes there respectively.


The Social Democrats had a strong showing there, gaining 5 seats and increasing their European representation to 16 MEPs. Those gains were mostly at the exense of the Democratic Liberal Party of Romania, who conversely lost 5 seats and were reduced to 5. The only other thing of note is the election of Indepedent MEP Mircea Diaconu, as neither the Romanian Greens nor the Socialist Alliance came close to winning any seats.


The most notorious fact about the European Parliament elections in Slovakia is the turnout-or lack thereof. The turnout in Slovakia this year was a farcical 13%-the lowest in the EU by far and the lowest turnout for any European nation in European Parliament history. As for the parties themselves, the far-right National Party lost their only seat, and four new parties gained European representation for Slovakia with 1 seat each-Ordinary People, the Civic Conservative Party, Freedom and Solidarity, and the pro-Hungarian Most-Hid. Another unfortunate thing is that the Slovakian Communists did not gain a seat, even though I am sure austerity is hitting Slovakia as it is hitting many other European nations.


It was another bad night for ALDE here, as both the liberal lists lost their only seat. One group which has affiliated to ALDE which did gain a seat here is actually more a pensioners' interest party called the Democratic Party of Pensioners in Slovenia-which will be good news for 50PLUS in the Netherlands to hear,undoubtedly. Also entering the European Parliament for Slovenia is the Igor Soltes-led Verjanem (meaning I Believe in Slovenian) list, but I have no idea what it stands for-is it a protest group like ANO?


Si Podemos, mi amigos!

This means 'yes we can, my friends' in Spanish, and is appropriate here because a new left-wing party that only launched this year, Podemos, won 5 European seats from a standing start. United Left also did very well, going up from 2 seats to 6, and Initiative for Catalonia Greens which allied with them retained their seat. There were also 4 MEPs affiliated to EGP/EFA elected, including two left-wing nationalists, a member of the Spanish Greens EQUO, and the Peoples Decide party. The biggest losers in this election were the two main Spanish Parties, the People's Party and the misnamed Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, who were rightly punished for supporting austerity. The People's Party went down from 24 seats to 16 and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party went down from 23 seats to 14, which triggered the resignation of now ex-PSOE leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba the next day. The hard right also thankfully got nowhere in Spain, with the right-wing Vox party not winning any seats and the neo-fascist Spanish Phalanx getting a derisory 0.13% of the vote.


And last but not least, Sweden (as I have already given my opinion of the UK's European Parliament results in an earlier blog post)

It was an interesting election there, to say the least. The Green Party of Sweden gained a seat but on the other hand the first Pirate Party to get representation anywhere in Europe lost both their European Parliament seats there. The centre-right governing Moderate Party (it will not be in government in Sweden for much longer, as a national election will take place there later and they are polling poorly) lost a European seat and went down to 3. As for other parties, the far-right Sweden Democrats gained their first 2 seats, and the the Feminist Initiative became the first explicitly feminist party in history to win a European seat, and it won it here in Sweden. 

Well, that completes my analysis of the 2014 European Parliament elections of nations outside the United Kingdom. Please feel free to give your thoughts on my analysis.

Regards, Alan.





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