Far Right Rise In Europe. Europe is seeing a wave of far right parties getting their breakthrough with voters primarily based on anti-immigration policies, nationalism and anti-EU sentiments usually. The far right rise in Europe is seen more or less across the continent. Inside the European union and outside.
Almost every European country has seen a far right, dirty right or fascist party getting an electoral breakthrough in recent years. The wave of far right populism is carried by anti-immigration policies beyond anything else. Fueled by the fear of Al-Queeda, terror and ISIS. Driven by the crisis of the EU in general and refugee streams in particular.
Far Right Parties In Europe
All of those parties should not be considered equal in nature or policies. Merely part of the same wave of far right populism in Europe. Golden Dawn and the Slovak National Party are actual (roughly) examples of self declared nazi-parties whereas lots of the others try and maintain a veil of mainstream reasonableness, while pursuing far right agendas.
Far Right Parties in Greece: Golden Dawn. An actual national socialist party in Greek politics. They march under fascist banners. plays a Greek version of the Horst Vessel song at rallies and have armed gangs of thugs attacking political opponents, immigrants and refugees. Several members of parliament and the entire leadership of Golden Dawn have spent much of the last couple of years in jail following a judicial crackdown. The crackdown came after a Golden Dawn activist killed a political opponent.
Golden Dawn peaked at around 20% in the polls, but have dropped off to around 12-14% after their legal problems. Golden Dawn was the first nazi party since world war II to win seats in an European election. They currently hold hold 18 seats in the Greek parliament and several seats in the European parliament.
Far Right Parties in France: Front National. An old player on the far right scene is the French anti-immigration and anti-EU party Front National. The far right nationalists are democrats and do not officially subscribe to fascism or nazism. They were led by legendary leader Jean Marie Le Pen for decades, but received their final electoral breakthrough in recent years after his daughter Marine Le Pen took over leadership of the party.
Front National made it to the final round of the presidential elections but ultimately lost. They have however won several local and parliamentary elections and have mayors in multiple French cities, seats in the European Parliament and such.
Far Right Parties in Denmark: Danish Peoples Party and New Right. The Danes are a bit nicer about far right populism than most of the other European nations. The Danish Peoples Party (Dansk Folkeparti) actively weed out party members stating positions too radical in nature publicly and the party acted as backers of the Anders Fogh-Rasmussen government from 2001 till 2011.
Dansk Folkeparti is nationalistic, anti-EU and anti immigration but they go to great lengths not to come across as extremists. They sugar over the more hardline stances with strong support for Israel, demands for better public services to the elderly and the fight for the little man against the system the Danes so enjoy. Currently the Danish Peoples Party have shot up to 20% support at elections and could become the biggest party in Denmark according to current opinion polls.
Far Right Parties in Sweden: Sweden Democrats (a feature on them: Sweden and The Refugee Crisis )
Far Right Parties in Finland: True Finns. The true Finns are very similar to the Danish Peoples Party and Swedish Democrats, must be a Scandinavian thing. They muster strong support for a closed-borders policy and anti EU campaigning.
The True Finns gained approximately 18% of the vote at the latest general election in Finland but are currently polling somewhat below that on average.
Far Right Parties in Germany: Alternative For Germany (a feature on them: Far Right Breakthrough in German Politics)
Far Right Parties in Hungary: Jobbik is about as close as we get to a fascist party without it actually itself as such. They declare themselves radically nationalist, anti-establishment, anti-immigration, antisemitic and of course anti-EU. The visuals of Jobbik make them look like a classic fascist or nazi party with parades of uniformed supporters waving flags looking suspiciously like versions of the Swastika.
Jobbik scored a massive 21% of the vote in the latest Hungarian elections and have become a force to be reckoned with. Not only in the streets. But in parliament too. As the far right rise in Europe goes Jobbik is one of the more extreme parties in the same category as the Slovak National Party and Golden Dawn.
Far Right Parties in Slovakia: Kotleba – People’s Party Our Slovakia and The Slovak National Party (Slovenská národná strana – can be translated as the Slovak Peoples Party too it seems) openly declares itself nationalist and socialist. They have the classic far right and outright fascist stances. They use the traditional fascist symbolism of uniformed political rallies, flags and marching.
After the 2016 elections in Slovakia the Slovak National Party entered into coalition government after coming in as the 4th biggest party. SNS has been riding the wave of far right rise in Europe but has not managed to reach 10% of the vote in Slovakia in the past 25 years. They have however gained more direct influence than most European far right parties by entering and supporting coalition governments in return for political influence.
Far Right Parties in the United Kingdom: The traditional far right party in the UK is the British National Party, BNP, they have never achieved wider support in the electorate or gained seats in parliament. In recent years a new form of right wing populism has been seen from Nigel Farage and his UKIP party. They are most certainly among the softer of the far right parties in Europe with far fewer authoritarian elements.
UKIP would have gained an electoral breakthrough more or less anywhere else in Europe. Nigel Farage secured 12,6% of the vote in the latest general election in the UK and a stunning 27,5% in the 2014 European Parliament elections. The European Parliament result is a consequence of UKIP being the only mainstream party in the UK opposing further EU integration. Whilst the 27,5% result secured UKIP a strong platform in the European parliament they still have not achieved electoral success in general elections in the UK. The reason is simple. A non-proportional electoral system. Their latest election result would have secured Ukip 60-80 seats elsewhere in Europe in a proportional system, but in the UKs first past the post electoral system it was only enough to win a single seat. Party leader Nigel Farage even failed to secure a seat for himself.
Several other far right groupings exist in the UK such as offspring’s of Pegida, the English Defence League. But none of them have achieved wider appeal.
Other Far Right Parties in Europe
The above walk-through of political parties with radical far right platforms in Europe is far from comprehensive.
We could have examined Brothers of Italy and Lega Nord in Italy. The Austrian Freedom Party. Order and Justice from Lithuania. Vlaams Belang (Flemish Nationalist Party) in Belgium. The Party For Freedom from Holland. The SPD (Freedom and Direct Democracy Party) of the Czech Republic. The examples are basically endless.
The new thing is not the amount of radical parties though. Both extreme flanks have always been covered. The new thing is the width of support for anti-immigration, anti-establishment and anti-EU sentiments that has led to the far right rise in Europe.
Far Right Rise In Europe
The Anti-Immigration Wave over Europe have provided wind in the sails for the populist right across the continent. Clearly, attacks reminiscent of those in Brussels and Paris will increase the support for all of those far right parties. The same might be stated for the refugee crisis on the whole.
The individual far right parties across Europe tend to mix a few general themes with locally tailored populist positions. In Sweden the right to shoot wolves. In Denmark a ban on animal sex. In the UK a repeal of smoking bans in pubs. In Hungary strong anti-Roma policies. It all depends on the local area. The common denominator is local political populism.
On top of the local issues most of the far right parties in Europe share positions on a range of issues:
- Closed Borders / Stop to all immigration
- Deportation of immigrants and refugees
- Anti Turkey joining the EU
- Anti EU in general
- Anti Islam / Islamism
- Pro restoration of national culture, independence and pride
- Anti freedom of movement within the EU
- Anti government and establishments
- Better service for the elderly and veterans
- Lower / No foreign aid
A policy issue such as the future of Israel on the hand divide the populist right-wing parties. Several of the Eastern European far right parties are more or less classic antisemitic, whereas for instance the Danish Peoples Party is strongly pro-Israel.
Same Populist Wave As Donald Trump in the US ?
Several people have asked if the right wing trends, the populism and the anti immigration stances of European populist parties are in fact part of the same populist wave that has brought the rise of Donald Trump in the US. We have looked at the question Is Donald Trump A Fascist previously. But. We haven’t explored it in detail yet and as such it is only fair to give an as of yet unsubstantiated opinion:
Yes. At first look. It does appear to be the same issues. The same form of rhetoric. The same segments of voters. The same economic conditions. Similar problems used to propel the arguments. But if it holds up to closer scrutiny is not yet certain. That will have to wait till another time. The Far Right Rise In Europe is a fact. So is the rise of Trump. They look similar.Read more
Local elections were held in three of Germany’s powerful states. The headline from all 3 of them is the electoral breakthrough of far-right party AFD. AFD stands for Alternative Für Deutschland (Alternative For Germany). The party is a youngster on the German political scene. Being founded in 2013. Why are they worthy of big headlines?
Because it is the first real breakthrough of the far-right or as some term it dirty right since the fall of the nazis. Are AFD nazis then? No! They are indeed far-right in a more modern sense. Any actual nazi parti would be outlawed in Germany as has happened to plenty of such over the decades. What Alternative Für Deutschland is, is a populist party hammering home anti-immigration and anti-EU sentiments.
As such they can be compared to the Austrian Freedom Party, the Danish Peoples Party in Denmark, the Front Nacional in France which are similar anti-immigration and anti-EU political parties on the far-right, who all still work within the boundaries and rules of the established democracies. Equally, AFD does not seem to deserve comparison to actual fascist or nazi parties around Europe such as Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary or the Slovak National Party (Slovenská národná strana)
Election Results in Germany
Lets have a look a the actual results. The Germans went to the polls in three local states. But the results sent a message to all of Germany. Indeed, to all of the world.
Baden-Württemberg Election Germany
Grüne 30,3% – 47 (+11) Seats – (The Greens)
CDU 27,0% – 42 (-18) Seats – (The Conservatives)
AfD 15,1% – 23 (+23) Seats – (Alternative For Germany)
SPD 12,7% – 19 (-16) Seats – (Social Democrats)
FDP 8,3% – 12 (+5) Seats – (The Liberal Party)
Die Linke 2,9% – 0 Seats – (The Leftwing Party)
Rheinland-Pfalz Election Germany
SPD 36,2% – 39 (-3) Seats – (Social Democrats)
CDU 31,8% – 35 (-6) Seats – (The Conservatives)
AfD 12,6% – 14 (+14) Seats – (Alternative For Germany)
FDP 6,2% – 7 (+7) Seats – (The Liberal Party)
Grüne 5,3% – 6 (-12) Seats – (The Greens)
Die Linke 2,8% – 0 Seats – (The Leftwing Party)
Sachsen-Anhalt Election Germany
CDU 29,8% – 30 (-11) Seats – (The Conservatives)
AfD 24,2% – 24 (+24) Seats – (Alternative For Germany)
SPD 10,6% – 11 (-15) Seats – (Social Democrats)
Grüne 5,2% – 5 (-4) Seats – (The Greens)
FDP 4,9% – 12 (+5) Seats – (The Liberal Party)
Die Linke 16,3% – 17 (-12) Seats – (The Leftwing Party)
These results follow strong showing for Alternative For Germany in other local elections. However, these results really are spectacular. Almost a quarter of the vote in Sachsen-Anhalt and beating SPD in 2 out of 3 elections. The leader of AfD Frauke Petry will be celebrating tonight. Angela Merkel will not. This is a strong thumbs down from German voters to an open-door policy on immigration, a rejection of enthusiastic German support for a federal development of the EU and to some extent a negative vote of confidence on Angela Merkel herself.
Alternative For Germany in Power?
Are we gonna see Alternative For Germany in power? No! All other parties have sworn not form coalitions with AfD. At least for now. However, AfD have gotten themselves a strong wave of momentum and a powerful political platform ahead of the 2017 general elections in Germany. There is no doubt AfD are looking at an electoral breakthrough on the national stage next year too. They narrowly missed the 5% barrier at the previous elections in 2013 but are already polling consistently above 10% for the next general election.
Policy wise. What does the introduction of a far right political party in Germany mean? It probably has Angela Merkel considering a swing to the right. Her governing party CDU is bleeding voters to Alternative For Germany. She can try countering by arguments. Or she can try countering by approaching AfDs policy positions. As such, do not be surprised if Angela Merkel strikes a slightly less immigrant friendly tone in the coming month.
Do not be shocked if the chancellor chooses less enthusiastic messaging about the EU. Is it going to be enough to stop AfD? Judging from other European elections the clear answer is no. Alternative For Germany are very likely to get a thunderous victory in the 2017 elections in Germany, but are equally likely to be sidetracked by the traditional political parties in terms of influence. Nobody wants to touch Frauke Petry with an iron barge. But they will be scrambling to stem her tide. Even if it means copying significant parts of her rhetoric and policy.
Elections in Germany – Far Right AfD Won Big
The elections in Germany were a milestone. Not since the fall of the third reich has any far right party won any significant portion of the vote in Germany. Last night far right AfD won big.
Almost a quarter of the vote in Sachsen. Momentum. Plenty of media focus. By all accounts Alternative Für Deutschland is a new power to be reckoned with in German politics. And the “we will not work with them” tactic has been tried. And failed. In Sweden the Swedish Democrats of a similar nature as AfD have been kept from influence and kept growing as a result. In Denmark The Danish Peoples Party were labelled “not house-trained” and kept from power. Until the dam burst and they became perhaps the most influential party in the country.
What is the German political establishment going to do ? For now. They too will attempt the “unclean” labeling of AfD and hope they go away. In the 2017 elections they are likely to find out just how disastrous that tactic can be.Read more