Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Not only Sweden

This article (whose understanding of what is and what is not far right is sadly inadequate) in the Wall Street Journal [behind a paywall but you can find it directly through Google] reminds us that on the same day as the Swedish Democrats got their near 13 per cent the Alternativ fur Deutschland (AfD) won more than 10 per cent of the vote in two state in the east of the country.

This is the nearest we come to some kind of an explanation:
Behind the erosion of support for mainstream parties is the failure of Europe's leaders to resolve the region's economic woes. Much of Europe remains in a deep economic funk. Popular frustration over high youth unemployment and cuts to welfare and education spending, meanwhile, has benefited the parties out of the mainstream.

"Politics is about alternatives and the populists are formulating the alternative, from Scotland to France," says Ulrike Guerot, a political scientist with the Open Society Initiative for Europe in Berlin.

Though local issues tend to dominate the parties' political agendas, party leaders are united by a deep skepticism of the Brussels-based EU, which they accuse of hijacking their national sovereignty.

"All these right-wing populist parties are united through an anti-EU agenda because they view the EU as kind of a centralist power," said Ruth Wodak, a professor at Lancaster University in the U.K. who is publishing a book on the rise of anti-immigrant parties in Europe.
Really, who are these strange people who view the EU as kind of a centralist power? Come to think of it, why is a populist party necessarily bad and extreme right-wing? Is it because the left, who, as I recall, were very strong on appealing to the masses, cannot gather any kind of a popular support?

Here is the Wall Street Journal article [see above] about the German elections:
The party won 12% of the vote in the state of Brandenburg and 10.6% in Thuringia, according to preliminary results. Two weeks ago, the AfD won its first seats in state parliament during elections in Saxony when it garnered nearly 10% of the vote. It narrowly missed winning seats in the national elections last year.
It is true that the turn-out was low (around 50 per cent) and that always favours smaller parties. Nevertheless, refusing to acknowledge that parties whose programme is not all that shocking though outside the establishment political discussion, does not bode well. After all, neither of these parties is voicing support for President Putin, unlike, for example the Dear Leader (re-elected unopposed for another term and, probably, for life) of UKIP.

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