MINELRES: UNITED: Far-Right Prospects in the European Parliament Elections
Sat Jun 6 16:00:30 2009
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UNITED E-NEWS 26-05-09: Far-Right Prospects in the European Parliament
Please find below a very timely analysis on the "Far-right prospects in
the European elections".
It is a result of international cooperation between the UNITED and
Searchlight networks: 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.
The compiled researched countries' data can be found on the UNITED
web-site (http://www.unitedagainstracism.org) under 'projects'.
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 EU Parliament while not forgetting
about xenophobic policies of supposedly democratic parties on the
European and national level.
Keep UNITED informed about your related 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
Far-right prospects in the European elections
By Graeme Atkinson, European editor Searchlight, in Berlin
Elections affecting 500 million people in 27 EU member states will be
held from 4-7 June to fill 736 seats in the European Parliament. That is
two more countries than at the last election in 2004, because of the
accession of Bulgaria and Romania.
Member states employ a variety of voting systems so making predictions
of the outcome is difficult, particularly as the electorate has become
more volatile in some countries as a result of internal political
The UK is a prime example. The continuing scandal over MPs' expenses has
turned many voters away from the three main parties, especially Labour,
leaving the way open for other parties to benefit. At the time of
writing the UK Independence Party looks to be the main beneficiary, but
the British National Party still believes its chances of securing seats
have never been greater.
Across Europe, far-right fringe parties are very much in evidence,
contesting the ballot in 23 countries, the exceptions being Cyprus,
Estonia, Ireland and Luxembourg. Even Malta has the long-time nazi
headbanger Norman Lowell standing under the flag of his grandly-named
Imperium Europa party, in the forlorn hope of winning one of the
island's five seats.
If crackpot Lowell represented the spearhead of the far right's
intervention in the elections, there would be little to worry about. But
the attempt by the far right to take up more room on the European
bandwagon is taking place against a backdrop of increasingly difficult
economic and social circumstances resulting from the world recession
and, looming on the horizon, the spectre of massive population movements
within and from outside Europe resulting from climate change.
It is hard to measure the likely impact of the right-wing extremists and
populists because these parties function with varying degrees of
professionalism and competence. There are 57 MEPs in the outgoing
parliament whose politics put them to the right of the conservative
mainstream. This is more than double the 24 far-right MEPs in the
The more competent racist and right-wing populist parties that hold
seats in the outgoing parliament are the National Front (FN) in France,
Flemish Interest (VB) in Belgium, the National Alliance (AN) and
Northern League (LN) in Italy, the Freedom Party (FP?) in Austria and
the Danish People's Party (DFP).
Of these the biggest single group is the AN, with nine MEPs. They are
joined from Italy by two from the far-right separatist LN, the convicted
fascist terrorist Roberto Fiore representing Social Alternative (AS),
the fascist veteran Pino Rauti and a lone MEP from the fascist Tricolour
Flame. The AN continues to rebrand itself as conservative and "post
fascist" but its roots lie deep in Mussolini fascism.
As for the rest, the FN had seven MEPs, now has four and looks like
losing at least one. The VB has three MEPs and is likely to lose at
least one, the Freedom Party has one MEP and hopes to gain another,
while the DFP also has one MEP and could make gains.
All these parties will field full lists of candidates but the FN is
beset by internal financial and political crises, while the VB has seen
sections of its electoral support and membership ebb away to the
Dedecker List, the new kid on the Belgian populist block.
It was noteworthy that in the previous parliament even the most serious
attempt to weld together the disparate right-wing extremist and populist
parties, under the banner of the Identity Tradition and Sovereignty
(ITS) group, failed at its first test. This stunt, promoted by Andreas
M?lzer of the FP?, was a flagrant bid to lay their hands on the huge
amounts of cash and resources that official recognition as a
parliamentary group brings.
It blew apart when one of its members, Alessandra Mussolini, expressed
her view that Romanian migrants were criminals, a move that did not
endear her to her colleagues from the Greater Romania party, who
promptly walked out, leaving the ITS to crumble and lose official
recognition when its numbers fell below what was needed to form a group.
Away from the more professional parties, the picture of far-right
participation in the election is varied. In Germany, the two main
far-right competitors, the Republicans and the Germany People's Union,
will compete with each other for the fascist vote and guarantee that the
far right will again fail to send an MEP to Brussels.
In Austria too there are two far-right parties standing, the Freedom
Party and the late J?rg Haider's breakaway Alliance for the Future of
Austria (BZ?), which, polls suggest, might also grab a seat.
In the Netherlands, the only recognisably far-right party on the ballot
paper is Geert Wilders's populist and fanatically Islamophobic Freedom
Party (PVV), which might well provide the country's first far-right MEP.
Interestingly Wilders seems to want any MEPs elected for his party to
plough a lone furrow and retain their independence from other far-right
formations. This may be attributable to the fact that Wilders is
strongly pro-Israel and knows only too well that other far-right parties
are either overtly or latently antisemitic.
In northern Europe, the DFP finds a little echo in Sweden where both the
Sweden Democrats and its even more extreme offspring, the National
Democrats, are fielding candidates. Neither holds any seats, a situation
unlikely to change in this election. In Finland, the far right is
represented by the bizarre anti-immigrant, anti-EU Real Finns party,
which could sneak a seat under the country's proportional representation
On the Iberian peninsula, the anti-immigrant Partido Popular in Portugal
has two MEPs and may retain them, but the fascist National Renewal
Party, which is also standing, will not be sending any MEPs to join
them. In neighbouring Spain, a ragbag of five fascist parties will stand
for the 50 available seats in the hope of winning one. Their prospects
are not very bright. In the 2004 elections, the four fascist outfits
that stood were lucky to take just over 1% of the vote between them.
In Greece, voters will find Europe's arguably most openly and violently
nazi party, Golden Dawn, sharing the ballot paper with the other
ultra-right outfit LAOS which has one MEP, Georgios Georgiou, who has a
chance of re-election.
In eastern Europe too the prospects for the far right look mixed. The
outgoing parliament has 16 far-right MEPs, ten of them from the
homophobic and racist League of Polish Families (LPF). It is difficult
to forecast the performance of the far right this time because the
political configuration has changed with the formation of a new party,
Libertas, led by the bitterly anti-EU Irish millionaire Declan Ganley,
which is swallowing up huge chunks of the far right including the LPF
and even a motley crew of nazi skinheads.
Three parties will fight the election in Latvia - the ultra-right
Osipova Party, which is linked to Russian nazis, the nationalist All for
Latvia and the right-wing national conservative LNNK. The Waffen-SS
supporting LNNK had four MEPs in the outgoing parliament but is unlikely
to have so many this time round. The Lithuanian Centre Party is fielding
candidates in Lithuania.
Zmago Jelincic's Slovene Nation Party (SNS) will fight for all
Slovenia's seven seats, on its strongly anti-migrant, pro-Serbia
policies. The far right will also try to make an impact in the Czech
Republic and Slovakia, though it is unclear to what effect.
In Slovakia, the extremist Slovak National Party, which wants the
rehabilitation of Hitler's bloodstained wartime puppet Josef Tiso, will
campaign for re-election on its anti-Hungarian, anti-Roma and
anti-Jewish policies. In the Czech Republic three racist and fascist
parties, including the National Party led by the BNP's friend Petra
Edelmannov?, are standing without entertaining much hope of election.
Their ideas are reciprocated in the fascist Jobbik party in Hungary,
which is also assiduously building up its own anti-democratic private
army, the Hungarian Guard.
In the two newest member states, the parties that have registered to
carry the torch for racism and fascism might be termed "the usual
suspects": the anti-Turkish, antisemitic Attack in Bulgaria and the
racist, antisemitic and xenophobic Greater Romania party in Romania.
The number of far-right MEPs looks set to rise in the new parliament but
whether they will succeed in forming any official groups is impossible
to tell. At its biggest, the ITS was unable to command the support of
even half the elected ultra-nationalists, right-wing populists, racists
and fascists in the parliament.
The biggest problem the nationalist right has is that it is not
internationally minded and many of its protagonists would like nothing
better than to slit each other's throats. All of them might share the
same xenophobic, homophobic, racist, antisemitic, anti-immigrant,
anti-Turkish, anti-trade union, anti-EU and Islamophobic mindset and
have the policies to match but they stand, largely for nothing other
than idiotic ideas about racial superiority and autarchy.
The tragedy is that a few million people will be deluded into wasting
their votes on them, which will allow them to get their snouts into the
EU financial trough and so make Europe a less pleasant and less humane
place to live.
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