[Discussion] European Political Landscape

There are three elections occurring over the coming year that are of huge importance. They are:

Italian Constitutional Referendum - 04/12/16
French Presidential Election - 1st Round 23/04/17, 2nd Round 07/05/17
German Federal Election - 22/10/17

This thread is to discuss the political realities, results and fallout around these elections. The scope is broad but try to keep the post relevant to the elections referenced above.

Edit - Updated thread title

While I think he is a little pessimistic regarding the eurozone (Struggling Italian banks are not creating the same shockwaves that Irish, Greek and Spanish did), I do agree with his final two sentences 100%

The starting point for fighting well is to understand exactly what consequences of which aspects of the post-wall era’s economic and social liberalism—and of related developments, such as rapid technological change—have alienated so many people that they now vote for populists, who in turn threaten the foundations of political liberalism at home and abroad. Having made an accurate diagnosis, the liberal left and liberal right need to come up with policies, and accessible, emotionally appealing language around those policies, to win these disaffected voters back. On the outcome of this struggle will depend the character and future name of our currently nameless era.

Good on you, Angela.

A spokesman for Angela Merkel said the German chancellor regretted Trump’s decision to ban citizens of certain countries from entering the US, adding that she had “explained” the obligations of the refugee convention to the new president in a phone call on Saturday

While I'm glad that these statements are being made, part of me isn't so naive as to think that the center left and centre right parties aren't just a little glad to see how Trump and even May are currently behaving. It allows them to provide a clear examples of the alternative as presented by populist policies.

So, it appears we may have an Italian election this year as well. Certainly one in the next 18 months.

French election is looking worse and worse every day.
While the conservative candidate, Fillon, didn't exactly seemed like a good person, quite the opposite actually, he has fallen into a scandal with potential for a court case. It is Hillary all over again.
Potentially handing Le Pen an easy victory.

I'm starting to see how Christian right-wingers can believe there is intervention from god to make the wannabe nazis rule supreme.

Axon wrote:

So, it appears we may have an Italian election this year as well. Certainly one in the next 18 months.

To be fair, expecting an Italian election is a reasonably safe bet every single year.

The problems in Italy nearly seems minuscule compared to everything else going on. It would be terrible for EU if Italy goes bankrupt, but other than that the populist candidate in Italy at least doesn't seem to be of the same style as Trump and Le Pen.
And unlike the rest of Europe, Italy (along with Greece) at least has a fair reason to be pissed at the current handling of the refugee crisis and failure of the Dublin Regulation.
Berlusconi on the other hand... I bet he and Trump would fit well together.

I remain to be convinced that a majority of French will stump for LePen. While she does poll consistently around 25% it's not as if there is another 26% in the remaining spread for her to win. Even if she got all of the 20% of the Republicans, it wouldn't be enough.

On the other hand, Macron and En Marche are something I've been calling for for a while now. It compares well with CS in Spain as a party in that claims not to be wedded to an ideology but attempting to merge the better parts of left and right. It appears France is fertile ground for such a party. If it's a run off between LePen and Macron, my money is on Macron as Macron will gather all the left leaning and some of the Republicans.

Thankfully, LePen doesn't have some Trump or Tory convoluted electoral road map that will give her power based on a minority.

As for Italy, your point is well and truly taken I would offer a slight word of warning. The Five Star Movement isn't the benign force that it's often portrayed as the media. Trump and Grillo wouldn't exactly find each other's views all that incompatible.

Yeah, it is fairly unlikely LePen will win. But arguably so was Trump early on. If her opponent is dragged through the mud for a few months it might change.

You are probably right about Grillo. I surely don't like him. Trump just has a way of making other problems seem less terrible.
Except LePen, she still seems like an unmitigated monster.

Well, this certainly won't increase her appeal. The whole issue around misspent MEP salaries is going to undermine her. Of course, as you say, we thought being in a porn film would have disqualified Trump.

Knife attack on soldier in Paris. I'm sure LePen will use this to deflect from her troubles. Of course, if it turns out that the man is a french national that fact will be conveniently ignored.

LePen kicks off her Presidential campaign and it's sounds awfully familiar.

“What is at stake in this election is the continuity of France as a free nation, our existence as a people,” Le Pen, daughter of the Front National founder, Jean-Marie, told cheering supporters at the Lyon congress centre.

“The French have been dispossessed of their patriotism. They are suffering in silence from not being allowed to love their country … The divide is no longer between the left and the right, but between the patriots and the globalists.”

As for the other candidates, it also appears that Macron has caught the attention of Putin. From now on politicians needs to be asked straight out that if they condemn Putin's regime for killing journalists and opposition leaders. Enough of this false equivalence and whataboutery.

Fillon refuses to quit the race in France.
It is just great. If he lose to Le Pen it is bad, if he win it is also bad, since he sounds quite awful in his own right.
The moderate Macron on the other hand sounds pretty decent, but I could be afraid that he would scare too many voters over to Le Pen with his immigration and EU views.

I see your point but I think those days in European politics of avoiding issues because they will only lose you votes as a policy platform is over. People want you to believe in something. I think Macron is tapping into that brilliantly.

Macron only needs 50.1% of the vote. Let those voters go to Le Pen and I'm willing to bet that if Macron keeps up that rhetoric from the clip he'll win comfortably. Well, I'd be profoundly worried otherwise.

Also, good to see the co-opting of the national flag for liberal ideals.

Wow, didn't even know this thread exists. Might as well jump in, i think I might have a thing or two to contribute. I'll have to catch up on the thread, but I disagree that the French presidential elections will be a Le Pen vs Fillon showdown. Things definitely aren't as clear cut as the OP presents them (again, I have to catch up though).

Edit: okay, so I'm all caught up!

Definitely interesting to hear what's going on next door (even though I had heard of a couple of these: yay Merkel for calling out the travel-ban-that-isn't-a-ban).

I'd like to temper a bit what Axon has been saying about Fillon. There's a good chance he won't be charged at all because most elected officials do this kind of thing and it's not (technically) illegal. It's the worst kind of nepotism though. And Juppé, who was the runner up in the primaries, has stated that he wouldn't step up if Fillon backed out of the race, so the right is definitely in a pickle.
(Full disclosure, I voted for Juppé in the primaries of the "droite et du centre")
On the left, we have Hamon who is the left's candidate after the primaries. He's a decent candidate, but with Hollande's legacy, there's not much hope for him. On the far left, there's Mélanchon, who is honestly the worst kind of communist/anarchist/all around system smasher you could hope for.

So yeah, it's looking rather bleak. I'd totally vote for Macron, and I guess the best we can hope for is a Macron / Le Pen face off (I refuse to believe this country could elect her as President). I actually like Macron, but he's been playing the "dark horse" card in this race, refusing to participate in the primaries and not actually outlining a plan ("un programme!"). That's mostly what people have been saying, it's that he has ideas and momentum, but no definite course of action planned out.

It's definitely shaping up to be interesting if anything.

Un - freakin' - believable.

Wife of French presidential candidate Fillon held for questioning : report (Reuters)

So despite all political analysis up to this point, right wing candidate François Fillon is now being charged in the context of what is being dubbed the Penelopegate (his wife's first name is Penolepe, he's being charged with employing her as his assistant, and that she was paid with government funds even though she did little to no work).
And despite all assurances that he wouldn't run if he was charged, he's now saying that he will run despite being charged.

Please don't tell me this gives Le Pen a clear path to the Presidency.

Might make it less likely. But who knows.
At this point, if Fillon gets second place in the first election round, and goes up against Le Pen, Le Pens path to victory could go through Fillon falling entirely apart toward the end.
But with the charges coming now, maybe Fillon wont get past the first round at all. Seems like the best outcome now.

Unless Macron is a diaster that is just waiting to happen? There is extremely little coverage about him in our media (compared to Fillon and Le Pen that is), but I hope that is not the case in France

It's still unclear for now exactly what the fallout will be. One thing's certain is that it'll cost Fillon for sure. I'm dearly hoping that doesn't help Le Pen, but more likely it'll help Macron.
Macron probably isn't a disaster waiting to happen, if anything, he might be the best opportunity at this point with the left completely failing to shine in the wake of the end of Hollande's presidency and the right heading straight into the Fillon debacle. Of course, this is extremely subjective and my personal opinion. I've always fallen somewhere along the center, typically voting for Bayrou and he's supporting Macron's push for presidency, in fact this is the first time as long as I can remember that Bayrou won't be running. So I'll be going with Macron, in all likelihood. Bayrou and Macron are at least talking about key issues like national debt...

To see two main parties in a major European country fall in popularity at the same it is fascinating. The more I read and hear of Macron the more I like.

Eleima, does Le Pen have a path to 50% in the second round? Like Chirac, enough of Fillon's voters will hold their nose and not vote for Le Pen. Or just not vote. At least that's my theory. Am I fooling myself?

Meanwhile, in other European election news, the Unionists have lost their majority in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Excuse the dark metaphor but this has lit a fuse in Irish politics. I would not rule out untied Ireland and/or violence within the next 10 years.

It's tough to say. Chances are that if Le Pen ends up in the secouons round, we'll see a repeat of the Le Pen (Sr) - Chirac showdown in 2002.
I'm hoping people will vote, though. Not voting never helped anyone, least of all democracy.

Not entirely sure this is within the scope of the thread. If not, I'll gladly move it to where it's more appropriate.

Nasty little spat forming between Germany and Turkey.
Turkey's politicians want to hold rallies with the Turkish diaspora in Germany in favor of Erdogan's referendum to change the Turkish constitution to give him much more power. However, the venues are being cancelled last minute (I think a total of four so far) due to "safety", "fire safety" or simply having booked under false pretenses (cultural events). Yeah, it seems like thinly veiled excuses to deny the rallies are being discovered.

The escalation started with the indefinite detention of the dual-nationality journalist for the German newspaper "Die Welt", Deniz Yücel, after he turned himself in to police, upon finding out that there was a warrant out for him. The charge is basically 'spreading terrorist propaganda' and ' being a member of a terrorist organization'. The group RedHack, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization, hacked the Email of the country's energy minister (and Erdogan's son-in-law), and distributed them to opposition news outlets. Yücel wrote two articles about that. He also questioned government accusations of Fethullah Gülen's involvement in the 2016 coup attempt, and he dared to hold an interview with a PKK commander.

So now rallies.......sorry, "cultural events" in Germany by ministers of the ruling Turkish AKP party are getting cancelled, and Erdogan and his bunch are furious, accusing Germany of Nazi tactics, and vowing to "make it behave".

This evening, the Turkish foreign minister, who had his venue cancelled a day before on grounds of fire safety, held his speech outdoors in Hamburg, and spent much of it lambasting Germany, accusing it of, among other things, systematic repression of its Turkish citizens.

Insanity....everywhere you look.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

So now rallies.......sorry, "cultural events" in Germany by ministers of the ruling Turkish AKP party are getting cancelled, and Erdogan and his bunch are furious, accusing Germany of Nazi tactics, and vowing to "make it behave".

This evening, the Turkish foreign minister, who had his venue cancelled a day before on grounds of fire safety, held his speech outdoors in Hamburg, and spent much of it lambasting Germany, accusing it of, among other things, systematic repression of its Turkish citizens.

This seems like a really tricky one to me. My gut instinct is that a nation (Germany) has no duty to extent to a foreign state (Turkey) any right to hold political rallies within its own territory. On the flipside shouldn't residents of a nation be allowed to organise and attend whatever rallies they want? (although I realise such a question is significantly more loaded in terms of Germany's history)

DanB wrote:
AUs_TBirD wrote:

So now rallies.......sorry, "cultural events" in Germany by ministers of the ruling Turkish AKP party are getting cancelled, and Erdogan and his bunch are furious, accusing Germany of Nazi tactics, and vowing to "make it behave".

This evening, the Turkish foreign minister, who had his venue cancelled a day before on grounds of fire safety, held his speech outdoors in Hamburg, and spent much of it lambasting Germany, accusing it of, among other things, systematic repression of its Turkish citizens.

This seems like a really tricky one to me. My gut instinct is that a nation (Germany) has no duty to extent to a foreign state (Turkey) any right to hold political rallies within its own territory. On the flipside shouldn't residents of a nation be allowed to organise and attend whatever rallies they want? (although I realise such a question is significantly more loaded in terms of Germany's history)

This. You've got the right of it. Germans of Turkish descent can go to whatever rallies they want. The Turkish government, on the other hand, shouldn't be able to hold rallies in Germany.

Switch the script. How do you think rallies put on by the Mexican government in South Texas would go down over here?

Jonman wrote:

This. You've got the right of it. Germans of Turkish descent can go to whatever rallies they want. The Turkish government, on the other hand, shouldn't be able to hold rallies in Germany.

Switch the script. How do you think rallies put on by the Mexican government in South Texas would go down over here?

Well, even though he wasn't president at the time, there is a certain double standard at play.

Angela Merkel didn't allow Obama to hold his campaign speech in front of the Brandenburg gate, but he was allowed to speak in front of the Siegessäule (victory pillar) monument.

Then again, he wasn't trying to gain support for creating/deepening an authoritarian police state, in spite of the narrative that Fox News et al. pushed.

The Obama address is a piece of US-Germany diplomacy, you'd be hard pressed to read it as a campaign rally. The principal objective is to deepen diplomatic ties with Germany, he's not really trying to gin up political support for his regime back home (authoritarian or otherwise) from an American disapora.

I disagree. This was full-on presidential campaign mode (and it was awesome!). It happened in July 2008, 3.5 months prior to the election that saw him become the first African-American president in US history.

To quote the last lines of the article:

The Obama camp is hoping the notion that the US will regain the respect of the world under a President Obama will persuade many American voters to back him.

Tonight's pictures from Berlin will have further discomforted Obama's Republican opponent, John McCain, who has struggled for media oxygen during a week of near-constant coverage of the Democrat's grand tour.

He complained on Fox News yesterday that he was barely getting a look in. "All I can do is be amused," he said manfully.

Ah right you are, I got my timings mixed up

The Dutch government has refused permission for the Turkish foreign minister to land.

I've no problem any liberal democracy not playing nice with an authoritarian.

Edit: Turns out it's illegal for foreign governments to hold rallies in Turkey. Carry on EU members states.

Yeah, political campaigns in other countries feels a bit weird.
It is a grey zone, if a politician goes to another country to make any speech, it is and can be considered political campaigning (like Obama 9 years ago). Or any random state visits for incumbent leaders. But still feels like there is a significant difference between making a speech directed at the country you are in, that also has campaign significance at home, and then having actual campaign rallies, specifically for your voters, abroad.

In any case it will be interesting to see how far out Turkey is willing to go these days...

Seriously, is it something in the water? Polish leaders were being quite embarrassing in the recent EU summit, for whatever petty reasons they had. Is everything just falling apart.

Axon wrote:

The Dutch government has refused permission for the Turkish foreign minister to land.

I've no problem any liberal democracy not playing nice with an authoritarian.

Edit: Turns out it's illegal for foreign governments to hold rallies in Turkey. Carry on EU members states.

Was a crazy weekend with the turks for sure. That and they Grey Wolves mafia.
Wednesday elections here in the Netherlands. Rutte once showed he could actually make a good decision for my country. But he is very much debet of this situation happening. So I hope he won't be the Dutch PM yet again. Will know more on Thursday I suppose.