MINELRES: E-NEWS: Far Right's Prospects in the European Parliament
Thu May 27 18:03:23 2004
Original sender: UNITED <email@example.com>
UNITED E-NEWS 19-05-04: Far Right's Prospects in the European Parliament
Please find below a very timely analysis on "The far right's prospects
in the European elections." It is a result of international cooperation
involving the UNITED network: The information for the article was
collected jointly by UNITED for Intercultural Action and "Searchlight",
the London-based international antifascist magazine. We hope you will
find it interesting and inspirational.
Please feel free to use this information in the run-up to the European
Parliament elections in your country. We need to campaign to limit the
presence of the far-right in the Parliament while not forgetting about
xenophobic policies of supposedly democratic parties on the European and
Keep UNITED informed about your anti-racist activities before the
European Parliament elections. We will appreciate if you send us
additional information, most notably the results of far-right candidates
in the election.
The far right's prospects in the European elections
By Graeme Atkinson, European Editor of Searchlight magazine, and UNITED
for Intercultural Action.
This month's European elections will be momentous. Following the
enlargement of the European Union on 1 May, they will be the largest
simultaneous transnational elections ever held in the world, with nearly
400 million citizens eligible to vote.
To accommodate the expansion, the number of Members of the European
Parliament representing the original 15 states will fall from 626 to
570. The 10 new states, which include eight former countries of the
Soviet bloc, will elect 162 MEPs, bringing the total to 732.
Whether the expansion will benefit the extreme right remains to be seen.
The larger percentage of votes needed to secure the election of an MEP
will make it harder for smaller right-wing extremist parties, such as
the British National Party, to break through. But racist parties in some
countries might gain some votes by raising the spectre of mass migration
from Eastern Europe.
Currently, there are 24 MEPs whose politics place them well to the right
of mainstream conservatism. The biggest single group, with nine MEPs,
belongs to the Alleanza Nazionale in Italy. This party, its roots deep
in Mussolini fascism, has for several years been respraying itself in
conservative colours and likes to be called "post-fascist". Also from
Italy are three MEPs from Umberto Bossi's right-wing separatist Lega
The rest are a gaggle of right-wing extremists and populists. Five come
from the Front National in France, two from the Vlaams Blok in Belgium,
four from JĂrg Haider's Freedom Party in Austria and one from the
anti-immigrant, populist Danish People's Party,
The ultra-right's representation in the European Parliament has been a
dog's breakfast of competing factions at each other's throats and
incapable of uniting in a single parliamentary grouping, which would
have long term benefits and give them greater access to funds. The
Alleanza Nazionale and Danish People's Party are part of a nationalist
group that currently has 23 MEPs; the others are independent of all
The relatively professional racist and right-wing populist parties that
already hold seats in France, Belgium, Italy, Austria and Denmark will
field full lists of candidates. Also doing so will be two Swedish
far-right parties, the racist Sweden Democrats and fascist National
Democrats, friends of the BNP.
In Germany, several fascist outfits have thrown their hats into the
ring, including the Republikaner, the Deutsche Partei and unexpectedly
the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD), another hardcore
nazi ally of the BNP. Also trying to get on the ballot paper is the tiny
antisemitic cult led by the US right-wing conspiracy theorist Lyndon
LaRouche. A British Jewish student died in unusual circumstances last
year after attending one of the cult's meetings. The federal electoral
commission may yet bar some of these parties from standing.
In The Netherlands, although the far right has become much more vocal in
the past two years, the only party entering the lists is Michiel Smit's
NieuwRechts party (NR). This outfit will field 25 candidates and will
campaign against the EU's expansion and the admission of Turkey.
Most of the far-right parties in these countries will have opposition to
immigration and asylum seekers and claims for their own countries'
"national sovereignty" prominent on their list of campaign themes.
The situation in other states is less clear. In Finland and Ireland,
where no extreme right-wing parties exist in a politically meaningful
sense, it is unlikely that anything will emerge in time to find its way
onto the ballot paper. The same applies to Cyprus, where despite the
nationalist conflicts between the Greek and Turkish inhabitants of the
island, there is no openly racist party. In Greece itself, the openly
nazi Golden Dawn movement will take part in the election.
In Malta, the lone nazi crackpot Norman Lowell has decided to iron the
words "independent candidate" on his swastika flag. Lowell, a
contributor to the US nazi newspaper National Vanguard, is expected to
win a maximum of 50 votes.
In Portugal, the right-wing, anti-immigrant Partido Popular will field
candidates and could make its debut in the European Parliament. In the
general election of March 2002, the PP won 8.75% of the vote, giving it
14 parliamentary seats. It is now a junior partner in a right-wing
Across the border in Spain, it is unlikely that any far-right parties
that manage to crawl onto the ballot paper will have any success. In the
parliamentary election that took place on 14 March in the wake of the
Madrid terror bombing, ten assorted fascist and Francoist parties
managed to rustle up between them a mighty 0.21%.
The picture is decidedly murkier in eastern Europe, with information on
likely far-right candidates hard to come by and even the date of the
election subject to intense legal wrangling in some countries.
Generally, the right will seek to draw upon the large-scale
Euro-scepticism that exists there.
In Poland, a number of far-right and Catholic fundamentalist parties
will stand, including the League of Polish Families, the antisemitic
Self-Defence, the Polish National Party and the third positionist
National Rebirth of Poland, the latter on an openly anti-democratic
programme. Self-Defence registered 21% in a recent opinion poll and
could make a breakthrough.
In Slovenia, whose chauvinist citizenship rules have become the subject
of an international scandal, two nationalist parties, the Slovene
Democratic Party and New Slovenia, will field candidates. Both are
anti-Muslim and anti-Yugoslav.
There are several radical nationalist parties on the horizon in Latvia,
including the Latvian National Democratic Party, which united with the
Latvian section of the nazi Russian National Unity Party two years ago,
and the Party of (Ethnic) Latvians, whose leader Aivars Garda is a
notorious publisher of violently xenophobic literature. However only the
right-wing conservative Fatherland and Liberty Party will field
Two far-right formations will appear on the ballot paper in Lithuania,
Vytautas Sustaukas's Freedom Union, which blames the Jews for the crimes
of Communism, and the Lithuanian Union of Political Prisoners and
Deportees, which opposes "cosmopolitanism in the classroom". Estonia
will have no far-right candidates.
The Slovak National Party, which campaigns to rehabilitate the
bloodstained wartime fascist puppet Josef Tiso, will field 11 candidates
and hopes to win at least one seat. Jan Slota, the party chairman, has
good contacts with the French FN and the Sweden Democrats. In Hungary,
where the tide of antisemitic and anti-Roma prejudice is rising, Istvan
Czurka's Party of Justice and Life (MIęP) will put up candidates,
despite having been all but wiped out in the most recent Hungarian
parliamentary elections. There will be no far-right electoral
involvement in the Czech Republic.
The election might lead to the emergence of a new European parliamentary
group composed of Le Pen's FN, the Vlaams Blok (if it can unglue itself
from the FN's rival, Bruno MĘgret's Mouvement National RĘpublicain), the
Italian Alternativa Sociale, which unites the terrorist Roberto Fiore's
Forza Nuovo, the Fronte Sociale Nazionale and Alessandra Mussolini, and
just possibly the BNP, all in search of bags of EU cash to promote their
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