Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Elections in Europe to follow closely in 2015

With the Syriza victory in Greece, and questions about the stability of the Eurozone, there are four elections in Europe to look closely at this year:
(1) the general election in the United Kingdom on 7 May, 2015.

(2) the Spanish local elections to be held in May 2015.

(3) the Danish general elections of 14 September 2015.

(4) the Spanish general election on 20 December 2015.
In all these countries, there are Eurosceptic parties, which may do well in the 2015 elections.

Some are not as radical as others. For example, Syriza is currently committed to staying within the EU. But what if there is such opposition to any reform within the EU that they are driven to withdraw from the Eurozone?

What if there is a crisis set off by Greece? The Eurosceptic and anti-EU parties may do well as electorates become more and more concerned about instability in the EU. The merely Eurosceptic parties could become explicitly anti-European Union parties and even demand withdrawal from the EU.

In Spain, the left-wing Podemos party was only formed in 2014, but already did well in the European Parliament elections of 2014 and has soared in the Spanish polls, with one recent poll putting support for it at 27.7 percent of the vote. The Podemos party is opposed to austerity and has a “soft” Euroskepticism but is not anti-EU. An indicator of how Podemos may do in the general elections late in 2015 will be the Spanish regional and local elections in May this year.

Denmark is also due for a general election in September 2015. The right-wing Danish People’s Party (DPP) did very well in the 2014 European Parliament elections and won 27% of the vote, and its popularity seems to have risen. The Danish People’s Party is clearly a Eurosceptic party, but could be driven to even deeper opposition in the event of Eurozone crisis. At least one opinion poll at the end of last year put its support higher than any other party.

Finally, the United Kingdom is due for a general election on 7 May, 2015. The current British political landscape in early 2015 is a curious spectacle. The most important major and minor parties are the Labour party, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, UK Independence Party (UKIP), and the Green Party of England and Wales.

In the general election of 2010, the UK was faced with the highly unusual outcome of a hung parliament, and at length it got a Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

But what exactly will happen in 2015 is unclear. Some predict that Labour will return to government with a solid majority, or the Tories will. Or could it be that neither the Labour nor Conservative party will win a solid majority and another hung parliament will occur?

Some commentators predict that the right-wing UK Independence Party (UKIP) will do well in the approaching election. UKIP explicitly wishes to take the UK out of the EU and is opposed to mass immigration. Many people, conservative voters especially, seem to be in favour of these policies (some evidence here and here). On economics UKIP is essentially Thatcherite, and perhaps worse than the Tories.

But the crucial point is that UKIP is vehemently opposed to the EU, and far more than other Eurosceptic parties considered above. UKIP could steal Tory votes, and this could send the mainstream Tory party in Britain into an anti-EU stance as well.

We can easily see the level of hostility to the EU in UKIP in this video of its party leader Nigel Farage.


  1. The Irish elections are also of interest. Sinn Fein may come out on top.

  2. So are the Finnish ones. Perussuomalaiset remains to be a strong political force.