Citizens put the European Union in the crosshairs.
A series of stunning election results for the European Parliament have rocked the continent’s political establishment. In France, Marine Le Pen's National Front (FN) scored its first victory in a nationwide vote over both the center-right UMP and President François Hollande’s ruling Socialist party. In England, The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) also notched its initial triumph, beating the Labor and Conservative parties. Both victories were indicative of a surge best described as an anti-EU, anti-mass immigrant wave aimed at establishment politicians and the apparently untenable status quo.
Le Pen minced no words in describing her victory. "The people have spoken loud and clear... they no longer want to be led by those outside our borders, by EU commissioners and technocrats who are unelected,” she declared. "They want to be protected from globalization and take back the reins of their destiny.”
The National Front garnered 25 percent of the vote, outpacing the UMP at 21 percent, and Hollande’s Socialists at 14.5 percent. The defeat marks the second in a row for the Socialists, who lost dozens of town halls last March.
The news was just as good for UKIP, which captured 27.5 precent of the vote, with Labor at 25.4 percent, and the Conservatives coming in third with 24 percent. UKIP, founded in 1993, gained 23 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) compared to 18 for both the Labor and Conservative parties, and their victory marked the first time since 1910 that a national election was not won by either the Conservatives or Labor. UKIP’s charismatic leader, Nigel Farage, predicted this victory would act as a springboard towards mounting a serious challenge in next year’s general election. “We will go on next year to the general election with a targeted strategy and I promise you this – you haven’t heard the last of us,” Mr Farage said. That targeted strategy includes mounting a challenge in 20 to 30 constituencies next year.
Farage explained the genesis of his triumph. “The political establishment will be terrified by this. They will all have to do a very large amount of soul-searching and realize that the usual platitude ‘We’re listening’ isn’t enough,” he contended, adding that Labor and the Lib Dems suffered the greatest losses as the result of UKIP’s triumph. “It is going to be disastrous for Ed Miliband, disastrous for Nick Clegg and a poor night for David Cameron,” he added.
He also echoed the sentiments of Le Pen. "The whole European project has been a lie," Farage said on a television link-up with Brussels. "I don't just want Britain to leave the European Union, I want Europe to leave the European Union.”
Other EU nations realized surprising outcomes as well. In Denmark, the anti-immigration and anti-EU Danish People's Party won its country's EU election, garnering 26.7 percent of the vote and four of 13 MEP slots. In Sweden, the Feminist Initiative Party won 7 percent of the vote and representation in the EU Parliament for the first time, while the Green Party surged from percent from 11 percent in 2009 to 17.1 percent, and the Sweden Democrats rose from 3.3 percent to 7 percent over the same period.
In Greece, the left-wing anti-austerity and Euro-skeptic Syriza party captured 26.6 percent of the Greek vote, pushing the current governing party, New Democracy, into second place with 22.8 percent. The extremist Golden Dawn party, a former neo-Nazi organization whose leader and members await trial for crimes including murder, arson and extortion, captured 9.4 percent of the vote, giving them three MEPs. In Austria, the Freedom Party, which ran on halving the nation’s contributions to the EU, a referendum on the EU's crucial bailout fund, and yet another anti-immigrant platform, gained 20 percent of the vote.
These results were partially offset by other outcomes. In Italy, Premier Matteo Renzi’s center-left Democratic Party won about 41 percent of the vote, marking its best performance to date. The anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, led by former comedian Beppe Grillo, garnered 21 percent of the vote, down four percent from its spectacular win in the general election last year. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives claimed victory with 35.3 percent of the vote, but the center-left Social Democrats made strong gains, and the Alternative for Germany, a new anti-EU party created in 2013, gained 7 percent of the vote and first-time representation in Brussels. And in the Netherlands, the right-wing Euro-skeptic Party for Freedom led by Geert Wilders surprisingly lost an MEP, dropping its total to four. Nonetheless, Wilders released a statement saying his party looked forward to working with France’s Le Pen, referring to her as "the next French president.”
The voting began last Thursday in Britain and the Netherlands, but the majority of the 28 EU member states voted on Sunday. Turnout was relatively light. Of the 388 million Europeans who were eligible to vote, only 43.1 percent exercised that right, barely higher than 2009’s all-time low of 43 percent. Turnout was lowest in Slovakia at a record-setting 13 percent, and highest in Belgium at 90 percent where voting is compulsory and a general election was held on the same day. But the overall results were stark: while the combination of pro-EU center-left and center-right parties will keep control of the 751-seat EU legislature, the number of Euro-skeptic MEPs will more than double.
Writing for Breitbart London, James Delingpole explains that despite every effort by the political establishment to downplay or deliberately misconstrue the results of the elections, it marks the beginning of a revolution "which will completely transform the face of politics across Europe and which will inevitably lead to the destruction of the European Union.”
Furthermore, he explains why in terms that should resonate deeply—with the American public. "What these election results symbolise is the depth of disgust felt across Britain and through continental Europe at the remoteness, incompetence, complacency and dispiriting saminess of the political class (and its amen corner in the mainstream media, in the corporations, in the bureaucracy and the judiciary),” he writes.
It remains to be seen if Americans will reject our own version of top-down bureaucracy populated by a tone-deaf ruling class, determined to embrace such dubious initiatives as comprehensive immigration reform, or global warming legislation--championed by the mainstream media echo chamber and various members of the corporate class. For the longest time, the American left has yearned for our nation to emulate Europe. If this rejectionist avalanche is any indication, the November mid-term election may indeed see that wish fulfilled in a way that the Left hadn't expected.
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