Europe’s “super election” year kicked off with a decided swing to the right

The defeat of the Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, in the last general elections in her country, makes visible the weakening of progressive groups in Europe. The other side, the advance of the conservative and far-right sectors (JOHANNA GERON /)

Following Sunday’s defeat in the elections, the outgoing Finnish Prime Minister, sanna marinannounced his resignation as leader of the social democratic party. The 37-year-old, who has electrified the world due to her leadership style, explained that her career “has come to an end”. In this way, perhaps one of the prominent figures in European politics, recognized and respected, ends up making visible a collapse of the continental progressive sector. On the other hand, a determined advance of the conservative parties is confirmed.

In Finlandlike in Sweden and Denmark, the victory of the right and extreme right puts an end to times where social democracy dominated. For the Socialists and Democrats (S&D)the group of European Parliament which brings together progressive MEPs from across the European Union (EU) thus began to repeat bitter defeats throughout the continent.

The electoral calendar began on Sunday, March 5, with legislative elections in Estonia. He Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDE) he finished fifth in the country’s parliamentary elections with 9.2% of the vote. Beyond the result, these elections kicked off a year considered “super electoral”.

Some 8 countries of the European Union (EU) They call on 122 million citizens, a quarter of their inhabitants, to design the political future of these nations. A great barometer that will measure the renewal of political groups in the European legislature. The question is, in addition to the spread of anti-European sentiment, whether this dynamic of triumphs by more radicalized political sectors will be a phenomenon similar to that registered in the 2022 signings in Hungary, Italy, Sweden and Denmark.

Reviewing what happened the previous year as a scenario to understand what could happen in 2024, the triumph of Giorgia Meloni on the Democratic Party (PD) of Enrico Letta, generated a stir in Italy, due to the advance of a party considered “neofascist”. The Progressives performed poorly overall, losing seats in both houses of parliament. Europe is looking very closely at the government that emerged from the party of Giorgia Meloni, Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, all of them from the Italian right.

Sweden has been another striking case. A country that has been a benchmark for socialism, turned towards the liberal and conservative sector, rising as prime minister ulf kristersson, leader of the liberal-conservative Moderate Party. The departure of the social democracy Magdalena Andersson, despite having won the elections, was significant since she understood that although she had an advantage in votes, the sector of the right had more seats, which is why she deserved to stay with the government.

A striking case was that of Sweden.  Former Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson won the last elections.  However, she resigned after accepting that the right added more seats to form a government
A striking case was that of Sweden. Former Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson won the last elections. However, she resigned after accepting that the right added more seats to form a government (DAVID W CERNY /)

In Denmarkthe socialist prime minister, mette frederiksen, dodged a motion of no confidence by calling elections. After weeks of bidding with the left of the country, he finally achieved a coalition with the Liberal Party and the moderatesurprisingly leaving out former progressive allies.

While these defeats are repeated, explanations are outlined. On the one hand, the conflict of Ukraine it has fractured the left or European progressivism. Divisions have deepened from uncomfortable positions in the face of war. Some anti-Americanism, anti-militarism or contempt for the NATO, traditional positions of the left, become obsolete in the face of the impact of economic drift.

Voters are interested in seeing how an agenda of specific needs is resolved: falling purchasing power, runaway inflation, energy shortages and a weakening of their standard of living. This propitiates a turn towards traditional parties, and even extremists, which direct their campaigns to rebuild the deteriorated social bad mood.

The European map is no longer painted with the characteristic socialist red. Of the 27 member states, the Social Democrats are represented by 5 heads of state: Olaf Schölz in Germany, Pedro Sanchez in Spain, mette frederiksen in Denmark, Antonio Costa in Portugal and robert abela in Malta.

A great letter will close this 2023. Spain, which in the second half of the year will occupy the presidency of the EU, will put the continuity of the socialist at stake, Pedro Sanchezin front of the Moncloa. He People’s Party (PP), currently favored by Spaniards in the polls, may need Vox extremists to form the next legislature. There has already been an autonomous trial in Castilla y La Mancha.

Finally, another could be the change in Poland. The country, key in aid to Ukraine, would go against this trend. The Prime Minister’s ruling party Mateusz Morawiecki is in trouble. The alliance of conservatives and eurosceptics in Warsaw could lose to the grouping Civic Platform (EPP). The Poles, determined to continue aiding the Ukrainians, also suffer the consequences of the economic deterioration, a situation that would decide them to put a stop to the current administration.

For the European Union this would be good news. Poland and Hungary have been repeated saboteurs of the plans of the 27.

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