There’s a lot at stake in Italy’s March 4 general elections. With four previous prime ministers selected through parliamentary deals, more than 60 percent of Italians are not satisfied with how democracy works in their country. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of Italians marched, with violent clashes between fascists and antifascists in several cities.
Will former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi emerge as this election’s kingmaker? It’s an open question whether Italians will give his center-right alliance, polling at 37.5 percent, enough support to govern outright — or whether this election, like the last one in 2013, will require another deal to break the political stalemate.… Seguir leyendo »
In December 2016, Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of the Green Party, won Austria’s presidential election. Even though he barely defeated the candidate of the radical right Freedom Party (FPÖ), euphoric observers argued that “Austria stopped right-wing populism in its tracks.”
Austrians again head to the polls on Sunday, this time to elect the Nationalrat (National Council), with 183 seats assigned via proportional representation. Despite Van der Bellen’s victory, restrictive talk on immigration and integration continues to dominate Austrian politics. Even more, the FPÖ looks likely to gain seats, and rejoin the government coalition after more than a decade in opposition.… Seguir leyendo »
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday called for an early snap election. (Unlike in the U.S. system, the United Kingdom’s parliamentary system enables the ruling party to call for elections before the end of a term) The call comes as a surprise, as May came to power less than a year ago, saying then she would not call an early election.
But calling early elections is not uncommon in Britain. On Wednesday, the British parliament voted in favor of the elections, launching the six-week election campaign, with balloting to be held June 8.
Looking for a mandate
Theresa May became prime minister after U.K.… Seguir leyendo »
In the Netherlands, the conservative, pro-market People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) led by incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte won 21 percent of the votes in Wednesday’s election, more than any of the other 27 parties on the ballot.
VVD benefited from an upswing in the polls after the prime minister took a tough stance on Turkey last weekend. On March 11, the Dutch government blocked two Turkish ministers from attending a Rotterdam rally, a move that resulted in police clashes with protesting Turkish minority groups.
In a campaign dominated by issues of immigration, integration and identity, Rutte showed his willingness to stand up to the backlash from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who countered the diplomatic slight of the Turkish ministers by accusing the Dutch of permitting the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnians.… Seguir leyendo »