The far right made gains in the elections to the European parliament, with voters in Italy, the UK, Hungary and the Netherlands, among others, supporting candidates who espoused explicitly anti-immigrant, anti-Islamic and hardline nationalist platforms.
Italy’s Northern League, stridently anti-foreigner, more than doubled its share of the vote to 10.2 per cent and won eight seats. In Hungary, the Jobbik party, with its anti-gypsy platform, won three seats. In the Netherlands, the Freedom party of Geert Wilders, the maverick politician who has become the face of anti-Islamic sentiment across Europe, won four seats.
In the UK, the anti-Islamic British National party (BNP) won its first two European parliamentary seats amid widespread disaffection with the ruling Labour party among white voters in the depressed industrial north.
Analysts said there was a pattern to the rise of the far right: it was able to exploit what seems to be a rising sense of insecurity and hostility to immigrants. Writing in Corriere della Sera, the political commentator Massimo Franco said the rise in support for the Northern League “legitimises a politics that is shared by xenophobic forces that are on the rise nearly everywhere, especially in Holland and Austria”.
High on most far-right parties’ to-do lists, however, is keeping Turkey out of the EU. Roberto Cota, a senior Northern League official, said the party would be working “above all to block illegal immigration and the entry of Turkey into the Union”.
The challenge for these parties now, analysts said, was to form a coherent grouping in the European parliament, given the unpredictable nature of many of their MEPs. Mr Wilders will not take up a seat himself, and he said his MEPs would co-operate “if other parties have good proposals”, though the party is likely to want to maintain some distance from other far right parties.
Jobbik intends to set up a new political bloc in co-operation with the BNP.
The BNP confirmed this move, and said it was also exploring tie-ups with Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front Nationale in France, Austria’s Freedom Party and Vlaams Belang of Flanders. The party would also approach the Dutch Freedom Party, a spokesman said, though agreeing on a leader for the bloc could prove difficult.
Jobbik has ruled out co-operation with the Greater Romania Party, which won three seats, or the Slovak National party, which won a seat, because both are fiercely anti-Hungarian.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Keep Turkey Out of EU
Nationalistic parties with anti-Jihadist platforms win in EUP elections: