A substantial number of Europeans, all over Europe, fervently dissatisfied with the political status quo, are electing politicians with radical beliefs and agendas to lead their country.
And it turns out, a portion of these folks are mixing another ‘anti’ with the ‘anti-austerity’ storm that has swept the continent.
For a detailed report on which peoples are voting for whom where, check out CNN’s report here. The article highlights the notion that the number of people who voted for political parties with rather extreme views in recent elections in Greece, Austria, Belgium, the Scandinavian countries, Hungary, and others, is large enough to take note, the majority of them enraged at the failed austerity economic measures.
However, the article aptly points out that, although many are turning to extremist political parties for change, the main force that is driving the incumbent governments out of power has more to do with their failure to revive the economy and their seeming disregard for the lower and middle classes rather than support for the extremist parties’ policies. As the recent election in France demonstrates, the Socialist Party, led by Francois Hollande, does not hold extreme radical views. He won partly because of the public’s discontent with the austerity measures implemented by Nicholas Sarkozy.
That was the first ‘anti’, anti-austerity as a significant number of Europeans have deemed fiscal conservatism a failure. The second ‘anti’ has somewhat caught on with the first one, for vaguely linked reasons.
As the far-right gained more support in recent elections, so did their ongoing anti-Muslim sentiments. Many Europeans, such as those who voted for the ultra-nationalist, anti-immigration Golden Dawn party in Greece, are merging their anger at austerity measures together with their distrust towards foreigners. It’s a strange mix, and these parties face the difficulty of being convoluted in their messages between nationalism and anti-austerity while channeling the public’s anger into supporting them.
The supporting of far-right groups for either anti-Muslim or anti-Austerity reasons might result in more chaos for Europe. But once the economy recovers, albeit which might take many years, support for these groups is likely to wane. As Dr. Matthew Feldman said in the article, “it’s clear that a large minority across Europe isn’t comfortable with these things — demographic change and multiculturalism… But what the far right offers is not something that many can accept.”