Monday, June 8, 2009

European Parliament Elections: The Continent

Much attention has been focused on the British election of its representatives to the European Parliament, but all of the other European Union (EU) countries voted, as well. The EU has now grown to encompass 27 member states.

Before going any further, I want to assure you that the Swedes have not again become militaristic, with plans to seize ships on the high seas. True, the Pirate Party did win one seat in that country. But their issue is Internet file sharing, not forcing captains to walk the plank.

The results in much of Continental Europe were similar to those in the U.K. Center-right parties generally did well, and extreme-right parties won seats in a few countries. But Green parties also did well in some places, so there was somewhat of a tendency to move away from the center, in both directions.

Here are reports from the BBC, Germany's Deutsche Welle, Radio Sweden, and the English-language edition of the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

Germany is another country where the EU election results are being watched, in anticipation of an upcoming general election for their national parliament. The center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), led by Chancellor Angela Merkel (in permanent coalition with its Bavarian partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU)), wants to be freed from its "grand coalition" with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).

Will a favorable result for the CDU/CSU in the European Parliament elections translate into general election success in September? Not necessarily. The voter turnout percentage is likely to be higher in the national election. Also, the phenomenon that I identified here in the British context, also applies to Germany. There is a tendency to cast protest votes in a Euro-election, but center-left protest-voters might find the SPD a safer choice at the general election.


Terry L. Johnson said...

i have not yet read the links which you provided, so my opinion may be off base. but, here goes:

my observation is that the european community does not yet take the european parliament seriously let. and that the meps elected are a reflection of that un-serious approach.

if the european ideal is to be achieved it will involve the individual nations continually ceding power and authority to the ep. given this, it is likely that some day in the near future that joke meps will be making important decisons.

seems rather like a monty python skit gone horribly wrong.

schiller1979 said...

Terry, I think you're right.

If read carefully, the election results can give some clues that are applicable to upcoming elections in Britain and Germany.

But there's certainly no one-to-one relationship between votes for the European Parliament, and votes for national parliaments. So, I think there's no need to fear that fascism is on the verge of taking over Europe again.