The European Union's Parliament (EP) held elections this week and the results just came out. Not many people inside Europe understand how influential this institution is and even fewer people outside Europe know it even exists. Despite its underestimated influence on legislation, voters tend to treat elections for its members as consequence free protest votes. For that reason it would be easy to over state any trends shown in this election. But let's speculate anyway, that's what blogs are for, right?
Parties on the left of the political spectrum (including Labor parties, socialist and social democratic parties as well as the Greens etc) gained seats from the last EP election in most countries (obviously new member states had 100% gains for every party) with the exceptions of Luxembourg, the U.K. (Conservatives also lost so Labour losses may be a possible anti-Blair protest), Finland. The Spanish Socialist party gained seats building on the momentum from their recent national election victory. The BBC reports that governing parties tended to lose and anti-EU parties tended to do well (see below). There was also what Europeans consider a low turnout (45% of eligible voters).
So what does all this mean? The conventional wisdom is that governing parties lose seats in the EP elections. Kind of like off year elections in the USA. Most governing parties were Conservative or otherwise right of center so an overall win for the Socialists could be just that, a win for the socialists. Or it could be a "throw the bums out vote." (for example, both major parties in the UK lost seats)
In the end, the make up of the EP doesn't effect the foreign policies of European states that much. But it MIGHT indicate the mood of voters for countries that have elections in the near future.
Sunday, June 13, 2004
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 3:33 PM