Euro elections 2009
Little or no confidence in governments, but no genuine socialist alternative
Robert Bechert, CWI
Last week’s European elections gave a snapshot, albeit often distorted by low turnouts, of the continent’s anxious mood and the distrust, if not hostility, to most governments. In a number of countries, like Britain, Greece, Ireland and Hungary, the ruling parties suffered dramatic reverses. But generally, with a few exceptions, this did not lead to a growth in support for the left or even green forces, instead it was expressed in a further drop in voter turnout and increases for right nationalist or far-right parties.
Europe is sinking into a deep recession, the worst since the 1930s. Just before the election the European Central Bank worsened its forecast drop in the 16 country eurozone’s GDP to a fall of 5.1% this year.
This was the background to the general rebuff to most ruling parties and the search, amongst those who voted, for an alternative. Even the record low turnout in these elections showed, alongside alienation from the EU and the correct understanding that the so-called European Parliament was powerless, a rejection of many of the established parties.
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