Thoughts on the European elections of 2009
This blog expresses personal views.
Well, the European elections have just taken place and now it's time to take stock and analyise the results.
Those electors who bothered to vote, and we must take note of the increasing trend of abstension in these 'don't know who my representitive is and couldn't care less' elections, where people don't realise the almost absolute power Europe has over the respective parlements of the nation states (yes, Europe is more powerful than any given individual state even if the states try to pretend it's not), those who voted, voted for the right and the rar right, whilst turn out plunged to 43% (thats 60 percent ish who didn't vote , who didn't remember the state of Europe 65 years ago , who will complain the loudest when things go wrong.)
In my ears I hear cries from the winners (who polled 27% of the votes) and moans from the losers (who polled less)
How can you claim to win an election when you only poll 27% of the total? Like in the 1930's, Europe swings towards more extreme and more intolerant ideals, forgetting on its way the 'European dream' of solidarity and a social network.
Young people vote for TV pop shows and pay for the privaledge, using mobile phones or computers. The only country to have almost 100% turnout was Belgium, (in fact 85.9%) and Luxembourg(91%) where you have to vote(so 10 % opted for a fine rather than vote!). Is this democratic? No, forced voting only breeds resentment and we forget our duty. We should give people a tax rebate if they vote. Then they'll vote. Also give them something to vote for, a vision, an idea.
The european parliment has 736 seats now
an excellent breakdown is shown here
What must we do to encourage more participation by voters in elections? Given the stakes,which in the current Economic and environmental situation are high, turn out was low and the results, a swing to the right (with increases for Green parties too) is surprising. Almost as if people seek easy solutions to hard questions.
The real surprise for me is the empyt vacuum we find in politics in Europe, with no heavy weights like Barak Obama or John Mcain. Europe really neads a president , like America or Canada, someone to unify Europe's diverse states behind a common, united ,social vision.
In France, where I live, we can see several victims and winners from this election
1) The socialist party. A party divided and split, whith no real programme, who campaigned on French rather than European values. Internal struggles have lead to the decline of this party since Mitterand, and really now the party needs to come together and find a vision for the good of democracy. if they don't, another group will take it's place. Only 17% of the votes.
2) MODEM party. People finally realise that they wasted their votes in 2007 voting for François Bayrou, and after the TV argument between François Bayrou and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, people finally saw the true face of MODEm and although Bayrou may belive in his destiny, that of French President, nobody else does. A week ago , 12%, of intentions But in the elections, 8% votes. What a fall from grace.
Despite the hard economic situation, the UMP managed to bring all the right together and have a united party. Say what you like about their policies, people have confidence in them, and frankly, the socialists didn't deserve support. People see that the right took actions which although not decisive, aren't completely negative either. In the UK, however, people voted massivly against Gordon Brown, who took the same actions and had the same luckwarm success, but had problems with corruption and whose political career is now over. Will the right drive europe in the safe direction, Work and see, wait and see. Remember , though despite their claims of 'victory', 60% didn't vote for them!
2 European ecological party
Daniel Cohn-Bendit , and the film HOME, which was shown on French TV on the 5th June surely have to take a great deal of credit for this result, as well as the ineffectual situation in the socialist pary. many dissafected socialists voted for the Ecologists, , explaining their 16% of the votes, almost the same as the 17% of the socialist party. people now see the real ecological dangers and advantages, and I hope the ecologists move Europe in a greener and healthier direction. The time of responsibility has come at last.Although the Home film had an impact, the argument that it was only this is weak, as if 9 million peple were brain washed. Also, there were two ecological parties in France, and we ask the question 'was the vote split' and the answer is no. On the tv stations we have had a constant dribble of 'crisis news' and did the electorate abandon the UMP? Yes and no,60% didn't vote for them, but their percentage nevertheless increased.
What future for Europe? A socialist /green pact ?
Do the maths!
34 extreme lefts
50 greens (total 264) and may be
267 rights (thats 3 votes more!) and maybe
21 independant and
72 no group.
the European parliment is 'hung'