[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

Eleima wrote:

So participation at noon was at 28,23%

Ummm, there might be just a tad bit of voter fraud happening there with 28,000% voting.

WizKid wrote:
Eleima wrote:

So participation at noon was at 28,23%

Ummm, there might be just a tad bit of voter fraud happening there with 28,000% voting.

(Psst....countries in mainland Europe use a comma as a decimal separator)

This thread has been annexed by continental Europe. Wrong decimal marks can leave with UK :p

At 5pm, participation is roughly 65% (65,30% to be exact), which is four points below the levels two weeks ago (69,42%).

And yes, the comma is the decimal point in France, so there.

Early exit polls are showing 60-63% for Macron. Not getting too excited after I went to sleep on 8 November with Clinton winning and woke up on the 9th with a trump presidency. I'm still slightly hopeful I haven't actually woken up from that nights sleep.

That's not likely to happen here MrDevik, we go with the popular vote, not some silly electoral college.
The media here in france are saying 65,5% for Macron and 34,5% for Le Pen.
More as the news unfolds, but I'm very much relieved.

Yeah, looks pretty comprehensive. While 34,5 is a bit more fascism than I like, it's a clear rejection of nazism. Hopefully Macron can be pulled left.

Now for Germany in September. I have little to no hope that anything reasonable will result in the U.K.

Le sigh of relief!

Germany has never really been in danger unless something extreme happens before their election. Unlike in US and France there will be more than two choices, so a bunch of people aren't "forced" to vote for the extreme nationalist, due to a lack of other choices. None of the other parties seems likely to want to work with AfD, even if they ended up performing well.

Glad that we all survived the french election.
Hopefully Macron will not fail too much, as tough as will be, to be president in a country, where he likely wont have much support in parliament. If he fails (or merely, if it is easy for opponents to give the impression he failed), it could boost Front National even more in 5 years.

That's the thing, though. He's in all likelihood set up to fail if he doesn't secure the majority in the parliament and senate come June. We'll see what that election brings.
And I don't think it's fair to say that there are only two choices in France, Shadout, far, far from it, particularly in this latest presidential election. There have always been 5+ candidates as far as I can remember, even though the "main" parties were the républicains and the socialistes. If this election has shown us anything, it's that there are more two choices to pick from. Maybe you're confused because we have two phases?

Le Pen is NOT mightier?

Demosthenes wrote:

Le Pen is NOT mightier?

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/VVLRrnn.gif)

Ō snāp

Congrats on remaining sane, France. Still, 35% crazy people in your country is worrisome.

Eleima wrote:

That's the thing, though. He's in all likelihood set up to fail if he doesn't secure the majority in the parliament and senate come June. We'll see what that election brings.
And I don't think it's fair to say that there are only two choices in France, Shadout, far, far from it, particularly in this latest presidential election. There have always been 5+ candidates as far as I can remember, even though the "main" parties were the républicains and the socialistes. If this election has shown us anything, it's that there are more two choices to pick from. Maybe you're confused because we have two phases?

Yeah, but in the final round you have two candidates. Le Pen 'only' got 20% in the first round, but in a situation where you could only pick between two, she got 35%. Obviously a lot of people have voted for her now, who did not prefer her as president, when they could pick between more candidates. 35% did not want Le Pen, 50% did not want Trump. But they wanted the only alternative even less.
My point was that the extreme groups have a harder time (though certainly not impossible) getting a majority in elections with more direct choices.
In Germany the election is quite different. There is, for now, much less risk of a right-wing nationalism victory.

I hear what you're saying, but percentages will only tell you so much. That's something I'm curious about as well, and we need the raw numbers.
Not to mention that some people are morons, and you can't always account for that (seriously, I've struggled trying to convince some people I know that Le Pen is a racist and a misogynist).

Well, Marcon is now trying to get a party of the ground. Bit of a mixed bag so far. What is interesting is that half of the candidates are women. En Marche! needs to well or Macron will find it difficult and sending France and potentially Europe into years of stasis which won't be good. Also a strong result for En Marche! will present a change in the Franco-German axis at the heart of Europe. For the better, I'm hoping.

Indeed so, Axon. Fingers crossed.

Half of Macron's cabinet is women. This is an interesting prescient. One wonders if it will impact on the British and German elections?

On the European front, it's seems Merkel is delighted to see Macron. I think and hope that many in the Bundestag could be convinced to ease monetary policy if France were to agree to labour market reforms similar to the German ones in the 2000s'.

Trump's visit to Europe has clearly shifted the geopolitical sands. Merkel sees no partner in the US or UK anymore. The world is changing, folks, in very serious ways. Even if Trump was impeached and Pence took over, the fright that the current US president has given Europe will not be forgotten.

Yeah it's amazing to me to watch how fast things change. I mean it only took 2 world wars and 70+ years of positive diplomacy to build up the US reputation and just over 5 months to destroy all that.

Zaque wrote:

Yeah it's amazing to me to watch how fast things change. I mean it only took 2 world wars and 70+ years of positive diplomacy to build up the US reputation and just over 5 months to destroy all that.

Eh. It was teetering after GWB. Obama was doing an OK job of patching things up, but Trump inherited some creaky standing to begin with.

It seemed like the world perception, when Obama was elected, was that the US would return to something resembling sanity, but that never really happened. Now, we've gone actively psychotic.

It's like you don't want to invite Dr. Jekyll to stay the night for some reason!

And even Dr. Jekyll seemed to be really into foreign assassinations via drone strikes and massive surveillance programs.

I think what everyone is looking for is stability and some sort of understandable and consistent approach to things. That doesn't mean it is necessarily the "right" approach to things but it's at least rational and can be anticipated on some levels. The Obama administration had that, this administration has none of it and flails around wildly in all directions.

It will take years if not decades to restore the relationship with Europe that Trump has taken a $hit on. It's depressing to think that now the US seems to be on better terms with the autocratic nations.

JC wrote:

I think what everyone is looking for is stability and some sort of understandable and consistent approach to things. That doesn't mean it is necessarily the "right" approach to things but it's at least rational and can be anticipated on some levels. The Obama administration had that, this administration has none of it and flails around wildly in all directions.

It will take years if not decades to restore the relationship with Europe that Trump has taken a $hit on. It's depressing to think that now the US seems to be on better terms with the autocratic nations.

It's almost as if this is exactly what Russia wanted and somehow they got it. Probably just #fakenews, though.

Macron had Putin over. Lets just say things got a little awkward. Go to the end with the questions.

Many not watching the French election closely may not realise that this is a common tactic of Macron. He is willing to put his political beliefs up against others, regardless of where they are the spectrum, and it serves him well. He went so far as to try to appeal to Le Pen voters on why labour reform, the EU, the single market and the euro are all good for them. Some may not have accepted his points but many did. There is a lesson there.

Anyway, this to all the world looks like Macron is reason Merkel was so frank the other day. Germany now has a French President who is prepared to stand his ground. And while that is good on one level you can't shake the feeling that many European politician's rhetoric is shifting. We have Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the ADLE group in the European Parliament and part of the Brexit negotiating team, calling for Hungary to have it's voting rights stripped.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of Orban and I do see Verhofstadt's point but I'm uneasy about playing with forces that Europe does not exactly have a wonderful track record on.

I'm really beginning to like Macron.

Could you please clarify your sentence:
"I'm uneasy about playing with forces that Europe does not exactly have a wonderful track record on."
I think it can be interpreted in two different ways.

I REALLY not a fan of Orban. In fact, a Hungarian friend of mine who, on some issues even tends toward the far right Jobbik, would rather vote for even the far left over center-very-right Orban. I don't see what else to do with Orban. All of Europe's finger-waving is making no progress. He has a pretty strong support base at home, and even the recent large Central European University protests didn't seem to bother him....at least not enough to reconsider his position.
Kicking Hungary out of the EU is probably counter-productive, collapsing its economy entirely (which will likely foster even more far-right sentiment), and will likely send it further into Russia's sphere of influence.
Temporarily stripping voting rights/withholding funds is the only way I see to make it clear to Orban that there are consequences. If he then leads Hungary out of the EU, he has to own the consequences. If the EU throws them out, then the EU are the bad guys.

How do you deal with the Orbans, Kaczyńskis, Trumps, Erdogans, Dutertes, etc of the world without strengthening their base of support? I don't know the answer to that, but I don't think it involves slamming the door shut on them (even though I'd love to do that to many of them....in their face).

I'm uneasy when European leaders start ratcheting up rhetoric that involves the nation state or any us versus them narrative. We've had centuries of violent fallout when that happens. As I said, however, I do see the point you are making and if you were to push me to make a decision I'd probably agree with you but I'm instinctively, perhaps reflexively, queasy about it.

It's starting to look like Theresa May's gamble is going to backfire. Reports are starting to slide towards the left with Corbyn. Hung parliament, Brexit reassessment... lots on the table....

Still too early but if it continues this way things are going to be messy

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