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Old 05-26-2019, 01:28 PM
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European Parliament election


Opening the thread in case some would be interested.


In France, it's a disaster for both the traditional right and the traditional left.

Radical left got 7%
Traditional left didn't do any better : 7% too.
Traditional right sunk with 8.5%
Green/ecologist got a great score with 12.5 %
Macron's "centrist" party had correct but not great result : with 22%

The far right Front National came first with 23.5%

The rest is spread among a bazillion (well, a bit less : 34) of minor lists, including a handful or two of radical left lists another handful of ecologists, a third handful of far right/nationalists/Frexiters, and a variety of others : feminist list, european republic list, royalist list, animal list, education list, immigration list, esperanto list....
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Old 05-26-2019, 05:06 PM
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The broader preliminary view from the Beeb seems to suggest that the Left may have a small advantage over the right. But, I am not 100% sure what those designations mean in a European context, relative to “left” / “right” in US.
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Old 05-26-2019, 05:36 PM
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Lib Democrats and Brexit Party are now dominating in the UK. Tories and Labour getting shredded.
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Old 05-26-2019, 06:37 PM
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Italy's far right Lega won in a landslide with about 33% of the votes. What is notable is that contrarily to some other European countries, they were pretty much non existant 5 years ago, so it's a massive and sudden change. Presumably tied to very large numbers (by Italian standard) of immigrants coming into the country during the last years (there used to be very few immigrants in Italy by comparison with countries like the UK or France).

The left still holds its ground, with the traditional left getting about 22% and the radical left "5 stars" 20% (note that Italy is currently governed by an extremely weird alliance of the far right Lega and the radical left 5 stars). The traditional right is trashed.
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Old 05-27-2019, 12:16 AM
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Parties in favour of a second referendum get considerably more votes than parties who want a no deal Brexit. Brexiters-with-a-Deal get a slither.


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Old 05-27-2019, 02:25 AM
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In the UK, basically, Farage's new fanclub (the Brexit party) has hoovered up the Brexit voters, UKIP being pushed down below the threshold for election (thank goodness, likewise the egregious Tommy Robinson). LibDems and Greens have won most of the Remain vote. Both Labour and (above all) Tory support has been squeezed, with the Tories pushed almost to the margins.

Here's the current table of results (Northern Ireland counts take longer, because they have a different system, so will come later).

The Leave/Remain divide remains very close. Guessing that almost all Tory voters are pro-Brexit in one form or another, call that 8% of the total, which would bring the vote for all pro-Brexit parties to around 43%. On the Remain side, the firmly Remain parties have won a lot of votes from both Labour and Tories, and total around 41%, but we can't be sure what proportion of Labour's 14.1% are Remainers.

But the ball remains in the court of the Tories in Parliament, and whoever ends up their leader.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:41 AM
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In Spain we were having municipal elections as well; most regions including Navarre also had regional elections. I've just checked the covers of my two regional newspapers (Navarre), two from a neighboring region with which we have an… intense relationship (Euskadi), and four national ones.


Those covers alone have material for a doctoral thesis or three on "how to present the exact same numbers in completely different ways". I'm trying to decide if I wanna cry, scream or go postal (that is, write a series of carefully-worded letters to the editor).

Last edited by Nava; 05-27-2019 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:52 AM
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One thing in which several of those newspapers agree, and which for some reason is treated as a surprise every time despite it happening every time, is that the numbers for each level are very different from those for other levels: that is, you may have a region where Party A gets 40% of the votes at the municipal level, 23% at the regional level and 30% at the European level, but what the reporters forget is that the list of contenders is different at each level. For example, when I went to vote everybody was deadpanning about how difficult our municipal election was going to be: with a single option, you could vote for them, vote empty or not vote. At the regional level there were 8 serious contenders (6 parties got seats) and a bunch of champiñones*, and at the European level there were all kinds of weird parties along with the half-dozen or so of parties which actually expected to get seats (8 different parties did). My own votes went to three different parties and this is quite common.



* "mushrooms", parties that nobody has heard of and which may not even have held a single open-door event or bothered with ads at all, so called because they pop up out of nowhere and for a very short period of time.

Last edited by Nava; 05-27-2019 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 05-27-2019, 03:13 AM
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In the UK, basically, Farage's new fanclub (the Brexit party) has hoovered up the Brexit voters, UKIP being pushed down below the threshold for election (thank goodness, likewise the egregious Tommy Robinson). LibDems and Greens have won most of the Remain vote. Both Labour and (above all) Tory support has been squeezed, with the Tories pushed almost to the margins.
Yep; in my area (South West) we got ended up with 3 Brexit party, 2 Lib Dems and a Green. I went Green this time, mainly because Stephen somebody-or-rather (Lib Dem) came to my door for the last general election and rolled his eyes when I said I was a knee-jerk Labour voter who wasn't keen on Corbyn. Not sure how I could have encouraged him more to lure me to his party, but he went with 'contemptuous' instead. He didn't make MEP anyway. Good.

Very glad that UKIP failed at least. Rape-joking sad-sack Carl Benjamin was a candidate in the South West - and Tommy Robinson is an outright fascist, who has been (terrifyingly) championed by Fox News as a freedom of speech advocate. For breaking the law to advance his anti-Islam agenda. The prick.
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Old 05-27-2019, 04:47 AM
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Staggerlee, you left out the bit about Robinson being a convicted fraudster and violent hooligan (including, once, against one of his own supporters).
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:51 AM
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I don't keep up with EU politics nearly as much as I should, but what is the future of the mainstream right and left in your opinion(s)? It looks bleak from here, unfortunately, but hopefully I'm wrong?
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:21 AM
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I can't tell as an American either. Specifically with regards to the UK, I'm wondering what the threshold of polling for the big two would need to get to to make people stop tactically voting for the major two in MP elections and start tactically voting for the others, then all bets are off.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:40 AM
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I don't keep up with EU politics nearly as much as I should, but what is the future of the mainstream right and left in your opinion(s)? It looks bleak from here, unfortunately, but hopefully I'm wrong?
They're fine in Spain, thank you. In general, the analysis in Spain has seen a rise of PSOE (officially center-left; social democrats with some vague memories of having been marxists at some point); populist parties in the left and right have gone BOOM. Ciudadanos (officially center-right; social democrats, more fond of centralized power than either PP or PSOE) and PP (officially center-right; social democrats) haven't done as well as PSOE but have done better than the populists. The biggest populist party (Podemos) has broken up into several smaller ones and eaten some bigtime floor; brand-new far-right populists VOX should have bothered invest in miner's lights.


And yes, we have a lot of social democrat parties: along with the three national-level ones, we have several which operate at regional levels. All of the regional social democrats have recovered ground lost to Ciudadanos or to the populists in the previous rounds of regional and municipal elections.
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:49 PM
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I don't keep up with EU politics nearly as much as I should, but what is the future of the mainstream right and left in your opinion(s)? It looks bleak from here, unfortunately, but hopefully I'm wrong?
One of the major themes prior to this year was that every EU parliamentary election saw lower turnout than the one before it. The first in 1979 had 61.8% turnout and last cycles was 42.6%. (Cite)

Small but motivated parties were gaining power in elections that typically had quite a bit lower turnout than the national elections. That gave us a trend of the EU taking on a different character than national governments. The mainstream parties were less represented. The good news is that this election broke the trend for turnout - 50.9% Of course the euroskeptics were part of that with a major push. Of course the results also show, by the article title, that the center was gutted. Environmental activists from the left and the far right both performed well.

What that means for effective alliances to actually get things done is the million euro question.
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:40 PM
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I am ignorant as fuck when it comes to EU politics (what else would you expect from an American). But as I understand it, the mainstream parties still have, in effect, a 70% or so control of the EU parliament? My question is, would the 25-30% anti-establishment/nationalist parties have enough influence to disrupt and obstruct the major parties in the EU? Could, say, the antics of the Italian right wing infect the rest of the body?
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:55 PM
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But as I understand it, the mainstream parties still have, in effect, a 70% or so control of the EU parliament?
It depends on how you define "mainstream."

The established centrist bloc that has dominated te EU parliament for a long time, including both center-left and center-right, looks like it won't have a majority 329 of 751 seats (43%, cite). They'll need to find some alliances among the rest to be able to effectively do anything.
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Old 05-28-2019, 11:47 PM
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It depends on how you define "mainstream."

The established centrist bloc that has dominated te EU parliament for a long time, including both center-left and center-right, looks like it won't have a majority 329 of 751 seats (43%, cite). They'll need to find some alliances among the rest to be able to effectively do anything.
But it's worth pointing out that their options for finding alliances are not confined to the far right and the far left. The EPP (centre-right) and S&D (centre-left) between them are projected to have 331 seats when the counting is finished. That's short of a majority, but it would be a majority when combined with any one of the liberal bloc, the Greeen bloc, the conservative/reformist bloc.
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:55 AM
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But the "centre centre" (if I can put it that way) Alliance of Liberals and Democrats also did well, so either they or the Greens (or both) now become a pivotal force in the key decisions, first of all choosing the new Commission President and later the development of policy objectives for the next budgetary period.

There are differences between the various brands of right-wing populists (e.g., the Italian Liga want a quota allocation system for distributing refugees/migrants around every country in Europe, which the Hungarian Fidesz in particular are bitterly opposed to). That makes it unlikely that they can consistently organise themselves as a bloc, though it may be a while before we see how the various groups and blocs set themselves up.

It's worth remembering that the legislative process is designed around trying to achieve as much consensus as possible between the Council of Ministers (=member state governments), the Commission (=develops legislation to meet broad objectives set by the Council) and the Parliament, before the final drafts go back to the Council for final decision. The Parliament has influence and could hold up a proposal, but it can't overrule or instruct the Council, or the Commission, so it's not like forming a government (though it does have a nuclear option to sack the Commission as a whole).
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:18 AM
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ISTM that the Euro elites are still treating the proles with contempt. Real power lies with the Commission, not the Parliament. So the proles vote for the left-wing and right-wing fringe parties in protest.
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:22 AM
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Yep; in my area (South West) we got ended up with 3 Brexit party, 2 Lib Dems and a Green. I went Green this time, mainly because Stephen somebody-or-rather (Lib Dem) came to my door for the last general election and rolled his eyes when I said I was a knee-jerk Labour voter who wasn't keen on Corbyn. Not sure how I could have encouraged him more to lure me to his party, but he went with 'contemptuous' instead. He didn't make MEP anyway. Good.

Very glad that UKIP failed at least. Rape-joking sad-sack Carl Benjamin was a candidate in the South West - and Tommy Robinson is an outright fascist, who has been (terrifyingly) championed by Fox News as a freedom of speech advocate. For breaking the law to advance his anti-Islam agenda. The prick.
I was, at least, heartened to see Bristol uphold it's routinely strong remain vote - and to see the Greens top the polls here ( I say, quietly, as a card carrying Labour member and Green-this-time-voter. At the risk of being chucked out the party).
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:28 AM
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ISTM that the Euro elites are still treating the proles with contempt. Real power lies with the Commission, not the Parliament. So the proles vote for the left-wing and right-wing fringe parties in protest.
Both of those are representative bodies; the Commission happens to have more steps in between vote and chair. Do you consider that only people who've been chosen by direct vote are legitimate office-holders?
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:33 AM
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I disagree with both Quartz and Nava.

The ultimate power rests with the Council (member state governments).

Each Commissioner is nominated by their national government, but is not there to represent that government or national parliament. Nor is it there to represent the Parliament. Its job is to implement the treaties and directives agreed by the national governments, through the legislative process aiming at consensus but ultimately for decision by the national governments in the Council.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:41 AM
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PS:
The Parliament is indeed not the ultimate source of sovereignty as Westminster is, precisely for the reason that that would be the "European superstate" sovereigntists - and national governments when it comes down to it - across the EU object to.

If Westminster hasn't over the years established an effective system for influencing /controlling what our national government was doing in the Council, the responsibility for that lies at Westminster.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:45 AM
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Uh... I haven't given any opinion about who holds how much of the power. I was just pointing out that the one body Quartz had given the crown to happens to be representative. So is the Council.

A lot of people accuse the EU of being "undemocratic" because a lot of their officers aren't elected directly, but neither was the civil registrar who recorded my name change, nor the notary public who verified my house purchase, and yet I've never heard anybody complain that notaries and civil registrars are undemocratic.
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Old 05-29-2019, 12:39 PM
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I would dispute that the Commission is representative, in the way national governments and MEPs are.
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:45 AM
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The ultimate power rests with the Council (member state governments).

Each Commissioner is nominated by their national government, but is not there to represent that government or national parliament. Nor is it there to represent the Parliament. Its job is to implement the treaties and directives agreed by the national governments, through the legislative process aiming at consensus but ultimately for decision by the national governments in the Council.
I sort of agree, but we should keep in mind the unique nature of the EU treaties, what with the surrender of veto in many areas, and the very broad scope of the treaties, which makes leaving the EU such a huge matter.
Should the commission be more directly accountable to the peoples of Europe? It hinges on how much power the commission has. I think that it either needs less power, or more accountability. You didn't mention the presidents of the commission, powerful figures who we didn't vote for and whom I doubt many of us had even heard of before they took office.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:27 AM
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I could get behind more accountability of the Commission. What specific changes would you like?

Of course the danger has historically been that proposals to have more direct democracy for such things has caused eurosceptics (remember them?) objecting to it, as potentially being another step towards a federal Europe.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:46 AM
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I would dispute that the Commission is representative, in the way national governments and MEPs are.
Not in those ways, but for starters, those ways are many.

Right now my region is moving away from a four party coalition which agreed only in not wanting party number five (1) (who still were the most-voted party) to govern, and may be getting a five-part coalition instead, who agree oooooon... you guessed it: that the other party which is still the most-voted party (2) (which under our system makes them the default party to govern unless a different majority can be hammered up) should not be in the government. Note that other Spanish regions don't have the "default president" rule: if their parliaments can't come up with a president within a certain period/amount of voting rouds, what they have to do is call up elections again; those regions would not see any of the governments by default that mine has had as being representative.

The previous government of Spain came from a vote of no-confidence, not from elections.

And so forth, und so weise.



1: holders of governments for several years prior
2: and have gained back ground btw. It's been interesting how studiously every single newspaper has avoided mentioning them. I'm beginning to wonder if the P in UPN stands for Plague.
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  #29  
Old 06-01-2019, 10:49 AM
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Opening the thread in case some would be interested.


In France, it's a disaster for both the traditional right and the traditional left.

Radical left got 7%
Traditional left didn't do any better : 7% too.
Traditional right sunk with 8.5%
Green/ecologist got a great score with 12.5 %
Macron's "centrist" party had correct but not great result : with 22%

The far right Front National came first with 23.5%

The rest is spread among a bazillion (well, a bit less : 34) of minor lists, including a handful or two of radical left lists another handful of ecologists, a third handful of far right/nationalists/Frexiters, and a variety of others : feminist list, european republic list, royalist list, animal list, education list, immigration list, esperanto list....

Do note that beyond the habitual pants-on-head stupidity of "I'm voting for the Nazis as a protest !", the results were also likely influenced by the new broadcasting rules put in place by the Macron crew which fiddled with how much TV airtime each party was allowed based on various metrics. Ostensibly the rules were put in place to curb the foire à la saucisse feel of European elections (similar to Nava's champiñones : lots of tiny bullshit parties with absurd agendas forming up for god knows what reason) but FOR SOME REASON very much favoured his own party and the aforementioned Nazis (and the right wing in general - the FN alone had as much airtime as every major leftwing party combined. So, um, as they say, yeah). Since Macron mostly got elected on a platform of "well, we don't have much of an ideology outside of money, but we're not the Nazis, so there is that", draw your own conclusions.


Of course, the results are also a reflexion of the current climate of "ultraliberal profiteers and grifters, or xenophobia über alles" replacing traditional parties more or less everywhere. We're deffo living in interesting times.
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Old 06-01-2019, 02:08 PM
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I could get behind more accountability of the Commission. What specific changes would you like?
I don't see how you can legitimately make it more accountable, that's the problem. The consent to be governed must originate in the people who are to be governed, and there doesn't seem to be any such desire among the peoples of the various EU countries. I'm not sure how there can be a legitimate EU executive or legislature, unless it has very limited powers, in which case why have all the superstructure of a parliament and commission, rather than just periodical meetings among heads of governments, i.e. the EU's existing European Coucil.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:59 AM
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I don't see how you can legitimately make it more accountable, that's the problem. The consent to be governed must originate in the people who are to be governed, and there doesn't seem to be any such desire among the peoples of the various EU countries. I'm not sure how there can be a legitimate EU executive or legislature, unless it has very limited powers, in which case why have all the superstructure of a parliament and commission, rather than just periodical meetings among heads of governments, i.e. the EU's existing European Coucil.
Someone has to move forward on fleshing out the details of what the Council has, in general terms set out as objectives. And someone has to keep an eye on the details of what they are doing, as well as raise new ideas to influence the next round of objective setting. Hence both Commission and Parliament.

To run absolutely everything through nearly 30 different national governments and legislatures just isn't practical.

It's all a complex and gradualistic balancing act.
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:16 AM
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Precisely. The EU is so successful because the member states agreed to put themselves at one remove from regulatory drafting and enforcement. They are still fully involved and crucial in their enactment and domestic enforcement.

There's no tidy way to do it - remove it entirely, and you make your country much less sovereign as it is prey for the larger countries who will set the standards.

There's plenty that can be done on the domestic level to make national governments more accountable for their actions and policies in EU negotiations. The British government suffers from an obsession with secrecy and the Parliament has a general phobia of being proactive in telling governments what to do, preferring instead to simply object to stuff it dislikes. These two things could change.


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