June 2004

Euro-vote mixed fortunes
for the hard right

By Graeme Atkinson, HOPE not hate, and UNITED for Intercultural Action

Some of the electoral right-wing extremist and right-wing anti-immigrant/ populist parties that stood in the European elections turned out to be amongst the biggest losers, piling up derisory votes and percentages in country after country.

The biggest loser of the pack was Jörg Haider’s Freedom Party (FPÖ) in Austria which saw its vote collapse from 23% in 1999 to a miserable 6.33%. Instead of having four MEPs, it will now just have one, the hardcore extremist and co-editor of the fascist weekly Zur Zeit, Andreas Mölzer.

In Germany, too, the fascists flopped, shipwrecked on the rocks of their own disunity. No fewer than four fascist parties fielded candidates, accompanied by Helga Zepp LaRouche’s crazed fascistoid sect, Bürgerbewegung Solidarität. Even between them, they were not able to muster the 5% needed to elect a single candidate into the 732-seat European Parliament.

The much-vaunted right-wing populist List Pim Fortuyn (LPF) which, two years ago, many political pundits thought unstoppable recorded a comparable flop in the Netherlands. Bereft of its star personality, the late Pim Fortuyn, the fiercely anti-EU LPF resembles a punctured air balloon. Since being in the Dutch government last year, the LPF’s support has been plunging, this time to 121,192 votes and 2.6%.

If it looks like the LPF has little future, its rival NieuwRechts has even less, polling a pitiful 0.3% of the vote. Already, recriminations have broken out within this unpleasant right-wing splinter group.

In western Europe, the far-right also failed to get a single candidate elected in the UK, Spain, Portugal and Sweden where the British National Party’s (BNP) pals in the National Democrats suffered the ignominy of notching up a vote that was “statistically insignificant”. This achievement was complemented in the accession states where extremist parties failed in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia to get a single candidate elected.

It could be argued that some of the far-right and right-wing populists, at least, have been victims of their own incompetence.

After all, they had much going for them:

· widespread dissatisfaction at the convergence of the mainstream parties
· anger at the alleged arrogance of mainstream politicians
· suspicion of widespread fraud and corruption in EU institutions
· resentment at the war in Iraq
· Islamophobia and fear of terrorism
· hostility to what is perceived as the distant and top-heavy bureaucracy of the EU
· annoyance at alleged EU invasion of the national sovereignty of EU member states
· media-fed hysteria in western Europe about “floods” of refugees and
asylum-seekers
· a low turnout (26% average in the the accession states and under 45% in the
west)

Despite these favourable factors, the rightists were not able, uniformly, to capitalise upon them nor, as a rule, to play a leading role in punishing incumbent governments.

However, it was far from meltdown for all the fascists.

In Belgium, for example, the racist Vlaams Blok totted up 930,000 votes and won the support of almost a quarter of the bilingual country’s Flemish-speaking population. Its Euro-vote success of gaining an extra seat in the EU parliament, coupled with its successes in regional polls held on the same day, could foreshadow an end to the so-called cordon sanitaire with which the democratic parties have so far kept the VB out of office.

In the UK, the nazi BNP almost matched the VB with an unprecedented 808,200 votes but this “victory” turned out to be Pyrrhic because the score was not enough to get Griffin’s hungry snout into the EU’s gravy boat.

The non-mainstream right will still be there, however, now that Robert Kilroy-Silk’s United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has won 12 seats. Already, the party has revealed some of its incipient anti-democratic tendencies with Kilroy’s much publicised promise to “wreck the European Parliament”.

In France, Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National polled 1,684,792 votes and gained 9.81%. This performance is better than the 5.5% it got in 1999, just after the debilitating split with Bruno Mégret, but it is still a marked setback in comparison with the 16% it got in the March 2004 regional elections. However, it has increased the FN’s occupation of EU parliament seats from five to seven.

Likewise, in Italy, the fascists of terrorist Roberto Fiore and pin-up Alessandra Mussolini’s Alternativa Sociale will be filling a seat, along side the fascist Fiamma Tricolore which had a candidate elected and Gianfranco “we are no longer fascists” Fini’s Alleanza Nazionale which will have 9 MEPs.

In Greece, meanwhile, George Karatzaferis’ toxically antisemitic party, LAOS, gathered 249,000 votes, enough to secure it a seat in Strasbourg. The Patriotic Alliance ­ between the hardcore nazis of Golden Dawn and military junta nostalgists ­ were only able to garner 0.17%, however.

The only other success in western Europe was in Denmark where the anti-immigrant populists of the Danish People’s Party kept its single seat and increased its share of the vote slightly from 5.8% to 6.8%.

In eastern Europe, it was in Poland that the anti-EU hardcore extremist right-wing really mopped up. There the antisemitic League of Polish families grabbed 15.92% of the vote and the ultra-right ‘Samoobrona” (Self-Defence) totalled 10.78%. These parties will now hold ten and six seats respectively. Three other far-right formations that contested the elections failed to win a seat.

Elswhere in the accession states, it is thought that deep Euro-scepticism may have been a factor in enabling the For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK party in Latvia (4 seats) and Nova Slovenia and the Slovene Democratic Party in Slovenia (one seat each) to win representation in Strasbourg.

At the time of writing, far-right and right-wing populist parties will have 57 seats in the new European Parliament. This compares with the 24 MEPs, whose politics placed them well to the right of mainstream conservatism before the election.

Although their tally of seats has more than doubled, it is unlikely that that their influence will do so. Indeed, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to form a united group big enough to win recognition as a formal group with all the access to piles of cash that that would involve.

For starters, Fini’s Alleanza Nazionale will probably want to steer clear of the rest of the extremists and populists and some of the “new starters” are unlikely to want to be seen as foot troops for Le Pen’s FN.

Equally, it should not be forgotten that, fundamentally, these people are visceral nationalists possessed of narrow-minded politics that do not lend themselves to international cooperation. UKIP and the other new entrants could not have landed in more suitable company.

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By Graeme Atkinson, HOPE not hate, and UNITED for Intercultural Action

This month’s European elections will be momentous. Following the enlargement of the European Union on 1 May, they will be the largest simultaneous transnational elections ever held in the world, with nearly 400 million citizens eligible to vote.

To accommodate the expansion, the number of Members of the European Parliament representing the original 15 states will fall from 626 to 570. The 10 new states, which include eight former countries of the Soviet bloc, will elect 162 MEPs, bringing the total to 732.
Whether the expansion will benefit the extreme right remains to be seen. The larger percentage of votes needed to secure the election of an MEP will make it harder for smaller right-wing extremist parties, such as the British National Party, to break through. But racist parties in some countries might gain some votes by raising the spectre of mass migration from Eastern Europe.

Currently, there are 24 MEPs whose politics place them well to the right of mainstream conservatism. The biggest single group, with nine MEPs, belongs to the Alleanza Nazionale in Italy. This party, its roots deep in Mussolini fascism, has for several years been respraying itself in conservative colours and likes to be called “post-fascist”. Also from Italy are three MEPs from Umberto Bossi’s right-wing separatist Lega Nord.

The rest are a gaggle of right-wing extremists and populists. Five come from the Front National in France, two from the Vlaams Blok in Belgium, four from Jörg Haider’s Freedom Party in Austria and one from the anti-immigrant, populist Danish People’s Party,

The ultra-right’s representation in the European Parliament has been a dog’s breakfast of competing factions at each other’s throats and incapable of uniting in a single parliamentary grouping, which would have long term benefits and give them greater access to funds. The Alleanza Nazionale and Danish People’s Party are part of a nationalist group that currently has 23 MEPs; the others are independent of all groups.

The relatively professional racist and right-wing populist parties that already hold seats in France, Belgium, Italy, Austria and Denmark will field full lists of candidates. Also doing so will be two Swedish far-right parties, the racist Sweden Democrats and fascist National Democrats, friends of the BNP.

In Germany, several fascist outfits have thrown their hats into the ring, including the Republikaner, the Deutsche Partei and unexpectedly the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD), another hardcore nazi ally of the BNP. Also trying to get on the ballot paper is the tiny antisemitic cult led by the US right-wing conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche. A British Jewish student died in unusual circumstances last year after attending one of the cult’s meetings. The federal electoral commission may yet bar some of these parties from standing.

In The Netherlands, although the far right has become much more vocal in the past two years, the only party entering the lists is Michiel Smit’s NieuwRechts party (NR). This outfit will field 25 candidates and will campaign against the EU’s expansion and the admission of Turkey.

Most of the far-right parties in these countries will have opposition to immigration and asylum seekers and claims for their own countries’ “national sovereignty” prominent on their list of campaign themes.

The situation in other states is less clear. In Finland and Ireland, where no extreme right-wing parties exist in a politically meaningful sense, it is unlikely that anything will emerge in time to find its way onto the ballot paper. The same applies to Cyprus, where despite the nationalist conflicts between the Greek and Turkish inhabitants of the island, there is no openly racist party. In Greece itself, the openly nazi Golden Dawn movement will take part in the election.

In Malta, the lone nazi crackpot Norman Lowell has decided to iron the words “independent candidate” on his swastika flag. Lowell, a contributor to the US nazi newspaper National Vanguard, is expected to win a maximum of 50 votes.

In Portugal, the right-wing, anti-immigrant Partido Popular will field candidates and could make its debut in the European Parliament. In the general election of March 2002, the PP won 8.75% of the vote, giving it 14 parliamentary seats. It is now a junior partner in a right-wing coalition.

Across the border in Spain, it is unlikely that any far-right parties that manage to crawl onto the ballot paper will have any success. In the parliamentary election that took place on 14 March in the wake of the Madrid terror bombing, ten assorted fascist and Francoist parties managed to rustle up between them a mighty 0.21%.

The picture is decidedly murkier in eastern Europe, with information on likely far-right candidates hard to come by and even the date of the election subject to intense legal wrangling in some countries. Generally, the right will seek to draw upon the large-scale Euro-scepticism that exists there.

In Poland, a number of far-right and Catholic fundamentalist parties will stand, including the League of Polish Families, the antisemitic Self-Defence, the Polish National Party and the third positionist National Rebirth of Poland, the latter on an openly anti-democratic programme. Self-Defence registered 21% in a recent opinion poll and could make a breakthrough.

In Slovenia, whose chauvinist citizenship rules have become the subject of an international scandal, two nationalist parties, the Slovene Democratic Party and New Slovenia, will field candidates. Both are anti-Muslim and anti-Yugoslav.
There are several radical nationalist parties on the horizon in Latvia, including the Latvian National Democratic Party, which united with the Latvian section of the nazi Russian National Unity Party two years ago, and the Party of (Ethnic) Latvians, whose leader Aivars Garda is a notorious publisher of violently xenophobic literature. However only the right-wing conservative Fatherland and Liberty Party will field candidates.
Two far-right formations will appear on the ballot paper in Lithuania, Vytautas Sustaukas’s Freedom Union, which blames the Jews for the crimes of Communism, and the Lithuanian Union of Political Prisoners and Deportees, which opposes “cosmopolitanism in the classroom”. Estonia will have no far-right candidates.

The Slovak National Party, which campaigns to rehabilitate the bloodstained wartime fascist puppet Josef Tiso, will field 11 candidates and hopes to win at least one seat. Jan Slota, the party chairman, has good contacts with the French FN and the Sweden Democrats. In Hungary, where the tide of antisemitic and anti-Roma prejudice is rising, Istvan Czurka’s Party of Justice and Life (MIÉP) will put up candidates, despite having been all but wiped out in the most recent Hungarian parliamentary elections. There will be no far-right electoral involvement in the Czech Republic.

The election might lead to the emergence of a new European parliamentary group composed of Le Pen’s FN, the Vlaams Blok (if it can unglue itself from the FN’s rival, Bruno Mégret’s Mouvement National Républicain), the Italian Alternativa Sociale, which unites the terrorist Roberto Fiore’s Forza Nuovo, the Fronte Sociale Nazionale and Alessandra Mussolini, and just possibly the BNP, all in search of bags of EU cash to promote their vile ideas.

Links:
www.stopthebnp.com
www.searchlightmagazine.com
news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/programmes/2001/bnp_special

EUROPEAN-ELECTION RESULTS
June 2004

 

AUSTRIA ­population 8.1 million

Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs
155,856 votes
6,33%
1 candidate elected

BELGIUM ­population 10.3 million

Vlaams Blok
930,700 votes
23.16% of all Flemish votes
3 candidates elected

Front National
181,000 votes
7.45% of the French – speaking community
No candidates elected

Front Nouveau de Belgique
26,000 votes
1.1% of the French – speaking community
No candidates elected

CZECH REPUBLIC ­population 10.2 million

Narodni koalice (National coalition)
2,944 votes
Statistically insignificant

Republikani Miroslava Sladka
15,767 votes
0.79%
No candidates elected

CYPRUS ­ population 0.8 million

No known far right/right-wing populist candidates
DENMARK ­ population 5.3 million

Dansk Folkeparti (Danish Peoples Party).
128,789 votes.
6.8%
1 candidate elected

 

ESTONIA ­ population 1.3 million

No known far right/right-wing populist candidates

FINLAND ­ population 5.2 million

No known far right/right-wing populist candidates

FRANCE ­ population 60.1 million

Front National [ Jean-Marie Le Pen]
1,684,792 votes
9.81%
7 candidates elected

Mouvement National Républicain
0.32%
No candidates elected

Mouvement pour la France [Phillipe De Villiers]
1,145,469 votes
6.67%
6 candidates elected

Rassemblement pour la France [ Charles Pasqua]
291,227 votes
1.7%
No candidates elected

GERMANY ­ population 82.4 million

Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands
241,678 votes
0.9%
No candidates elected

Die Republikaner
485,691 votes
1.9%
No candidates elected

Bürgerbewegung Solidarität [La Rouche movement]
22,009
0.1%
No candidates elected

Deutsche Partei
61,954
0.2%
No candidates elected

GREECE ­ population 11.0 million

LA.O.S. [Popular Orthodox Alarm] ­ George Karatzaferis
249,449
4.11%
1 candidate elected

Elliniko Metopo [National Front]
15,129
0.25%
No candidates elected

Patriotiki Symmachia [Patriotic Alliance] ­ nazi Golden Dawn & junta supporters
10,543
0.17%
No candidates elected

HUNGARY ­ population 9.9 million

MIÉP [Hungarian Life and Justice Party]
72,177 votes
2.35%
No candidates elected

ITALY ­population 57.4 million

Alternativa Sociale ­ [Roberto Fiore/Alessandra Mussolini]
398,036 votes
1.2%
1 candidate (Mussolini) elected

Fiamma Tricolore
236,016
0.7%
1 candidate elected

Pino Rauti
46,827
0.1%
No candidate elected

Alleanza Nazionale
3,759,243
11.5%
9 candidates elected

IRELAND ­ population 4.0 million

No known far right/right-wing populist candidates

LATVIA ­ population 2.3 million

For Fatherland and Freedom [LNKK]
170,819 votes
29.82%
4 candidates elected

LITHUANIA ­ population 3.4 million – No info received

LUXEMBOURG ­ population 0.5 million

No far right/right-wing populist candidates

MALTA ­ population 0.4 million

Imperium Europa [hardcore nazi Norman Lowell]
1,603 votes
0.59%
No candidates elected

NETHERLANDS ­ population 16.1 million

List Pim Fortuyn
121,192 votes
2.6%
No candidates elected

Nieuw Rechts
15,663 votes
0.3%
No candidates elected.

POLAND ­ population 38.6 million

Liga Polskich Rodzin ­ League of Polish Families
969,689 votes
15.92%
10 candidates elected

Samoobrona ­ Self Defence
656,782 votes
10.78%
6 candidates elected

Union of Real Politics
113,675 votes
1.87%
No candidates elected

Polish National Party
2,510 votes
0.04%
No candidates elected

National Rebirth of Poland [Third Positionist]
2,546 votes
0.04%
No candidates elected

PORTUGAL ­ population 10.1 million

Partido Nacional Renovador
8640 votes
0.1%
No candidate elected

SLOVAKIA ­ population 5.4 million

SNS-PNS alliance [Slovak National Party - True Slovak National Party]
14,150
2.01%
No candidates elected

SLOVENIA ­ population 2.0 million

Nova Slovenia
101,914 votes
23%
1 candidate elected

SDS ­ Slovene Democratic Party
76,674
17%
I candidate elected

SPAIN ­ population 41.0 million

Falange Española [FE]
Falange Españolas de las J.O.N.S [FEJONS]
Democracia Nacional [DN]
Falange Autentica [FA]

Votes:

FE 13,728 [0.09%]
FEJONS 4,308 [0,03%]
DN 6,175 [0.04%]
FA 1,990 [0.01%]
No candidates elected

SWEDEN ­ population 8.9 million

Sweden Democrats
28,303
1.13%
No candidates elected

National Democrats
7,209 votes
0.29%

UK ­ 59.2 million

British National Party
808,200 votes
4.9%
No candidates elected.

UK independence Party [anti-EU populist]
2,650,768
16.1%
12 candidates elected

This information was compiled with the support of many organisations active within the UNITED and SEARCHLIGHT networks!