Category Archives: EU Parliament

Croatia European Parliament 2013

Special European parliamentary elections were held in Croatia on April 14, 2013 to elect Croatia’s 12 members of the European Parliament for the remainder of the EP’s 2009-2014 term. Croatia’s MEPs are elected in a single nationwide constituency using open list proportional representation. Croatia will formally become the 28th member state of the European Union (EU) on July 1, 2013.

Two-thirds of Croatians voted in favour of joining the European Union in a referendum in January 2012, although turnout was only 43.5%. Croatia’s accession process formally began in June 2004 when it became an official candidate country and negotiations between Zagreb and Brussels were launched in October 2005 and lasted until June 2011. Public opinion had generally been strongly supportive of EU membership, with the exception of a brief period in April 2011 after the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sentenced Croatian war hero Ante Gotovina to 24 years in jail for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the Croatian war of independence in the early 1990s. Gotovina and fellow general Mladen Markač were later found innocent on all charges and their convictions overturned by the ICTY’s appeals panel in November 2012.

The Kukuriku, a centre-left multi-party alliance led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), won the December 2011 election defeating the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) which had been in power since 2003. In the 1990s, the HDZ was a hard-right nationalist party led by Franjo Tuđman, a controversial strongman whose policies during the war years and the turbulent 90s isolated the country diplomatically. The HDZ was voted out of office in 2000, replaced by a heterogeneous reformist coalition around Prime Minister Ivica Račan (SDP) and President Stjepan Mesić (left-liberal HNS). Račan’s government, rapidly crippled by divisions between coalition members, only lasted until 2003 but under his and President Mesić’s leadership, Croatia gradually emerged from the semi-isolation of the Tuđman era and placed on the road to EU membership. The HDZ, transformed into a pro-European centre-right party under Ivo Sanader, won the 2003 elections by a decisive margin and was narrowly reelected in 2007.

While Sanader’s first term was generally successful because of a strong economy and EU negotiations, the second term proved to be a disaster from which the HDZ has yet to fully recover from. Croatia was hit particularly badly by the onset of the economic crisis in 2009-2010, which wrecked economic growth. Public opinion responded very poorly to the HDZ’s austerity policies, which included a very unpopular hike in the VAT and the introduction of a new ‘crisis’ income tax. Ivo Sanader resigned in the summer of 2009, and he was succeeded by Jadranka Kosor. Around the same time, Sanader himself and the HDZ as a whole were hit by a whole slew of particularly egregious corruption scandals. While Kosor herself was probably not directly involved and she took a hardline stance against corruption once in office, the whole thing blew up in her party’s face once prosecutors started digging and unearthing some pretty big corruption scandals – many of them involving Sanader himself. In January 2010, his ploy to reclaim the party’s leadership was foiled and in December, the Parliament voted to strip his immunity. He initially fled across the border to Austria, but he was arrested on an Interpol arrest warrant within hours. Sanader was sentenced to ten years in prison in November 2012.

Crippled by the stench of corruption and the economic crisis, Jadranka Kosor’s HDZ was handily defeated by SDP leader Zoran Milanović’s Kukuriku centre-left coalition in the 2011 elections. Although he was elected on a vaguely anti-austerity and broadly left-leaning agenda, Milanović’s government has been forced to tackle the economic crisis and the country’s large budgetary deficit – unsurprisingly, in the form of austerity measures and economic reforms which have included major public spending cuts, pension reforms, the sell of state assets (privatizations) and the liberalization of foreign investment. The country’s economy remains in a weak position: it has very low credit ratings, the GDP shrank by 2% in 2012 and it is still projected to be negative this year, unemployment is still rising exponentially (now up to 17%) and debt repayments combined with new EU contributions will frustrate the government’s objective of reducing the deficit in line with IMF recommendations. The IMF projects the country’s deficit will be 4.25% of GDP this year.

The government has also faced a few low-intensity scandals or embarrassing affairs. In November 2012, the Vice Premier and leader of the largest junior coalition party (HNS-LD)  Radimir Čačić resigned after he was sentenced to 22 months in jail by a Hungarian court over a car crash he caused in 2010 resulting in the death of two people. In March 2013, the tourism minister was forced to resign after a media investigation revealed details about how his family had profited from a real estate deal in Istria.

In October 2012, the government was rattled by a bizarre affair likely orchestrated by the right-wing opposition which has since blown up in the opposition’s face. The right-wing newspaper Večernji list alleged that Interior Minister Ranko Ostojić had been illegally tapping the phones of intelligence operatives. The left-wing newspaper Jutarnji list countered with claims that the intelligence operatives were tracked because of suspected contacts with the mafia, and accused HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko and Večernji list of creating a fake scandal to discredit the government. The weird scandal backfired on the opposition – in December, Ostojić ordered an investigation into a spying scandal from Karamarko’s days as Interior Minister. Karamarko is accussed of tracking Attorney General Mladen Bajić and several journalists.

The government has become fairly unpopular, with its approval ratings down to 30% and its polling numbers down nearly ten points from its 2011 result (40%). But, thus far, the HDZ has struggled to profit from the government’s unpopularity. It remains badly tainted with the corruption scandals from its last term in office, and the stench refuses to go away. Indeed, the party itself is currently on trial for corruption. Former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor lost the party leadership in May 2012, placing third in a leadership election won by Tomislav Karamarko, who appears more right-wing and nationalistic than recent HDZ leaders. Kosor was recently expelled from the party. The main beneficiary, instead, of the government’s declining popularity have been the Labourists (Hrvatski laburisti), a new left-wing party which won 5.1% and 6 seats in 2011. Claiming to represent the working-classes, the Labourists oppose austerity policies.

The SDP ran a common list with the left-liberal HNS-LD and the main pensioners’ party (HSU). The HDZ ran a common list with the nationalistic right-wing Croatian Party of Rights dr. Ante Starčević (HSP AS, one seat in 2011) and a smaller pensioners’ party. The Croatian Peasants’ Party (HSS) and the Social Liberals (HSLS) ran a common list and the right-wing regionalistic Croatian Democratic Alliance of Slavonia and Baranja (HDSSB) ran with smaller allied parties. The small regionalist Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS), although a governing party in the current coalition, ran its own separate list led by IDS leader and Istria County head Ivan Jakovčić.

Turnout in these EU elections was an utterly catastrophic 20.84% – certainly one of the lowest turnouts in any EU election (besides Slovakia). Very low turnout in EU elections is the norm in the newer member states in eastern Europe, where any original enthusiasm for joining the EU has certainly not translated into any interest into the EU Parliament. Besides the fact that basically nobody in Croatia or in the rest of the EU for that matter actually cares about the EU Parliament or actually knows what it does, this particular election was very low-key. The major elections will be local and county elections in May, this election was a dress rehearsal for those elections in which no party placed tons of efforts or attention.

HDZ-HSP AS-BUZ 32.86% winning 6 seats
SDP-HNS-HSU 32.07% winning 5 seats
Labourists 5.77% winning 1 seat
HSS-HSLS 3.86% winning 0 seats
Ivan Jakovčić (IDS) 3.84% winning 0 seats
HDSSB 3.01% winning 0 seats
Croatian Growth 2.55% winning 0 seats
Youth Action 1.49% winning 0 seats
Pensioners’ Party 1.48% winning 0 seats
HSP 1.39% winning 0 seats
Greens 1.16% winning 0 seats
Pirate Party 1.13% winning 0 seats
All others 9.39% winning 0 seats

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The centre-right opposition coalition led by the HDZ eked out a surprise victory, taking six of the country’s 12 seats. Whereas sparse polling prior to the election had shown them trailing the governing SDP-led coalition by a fairly substantial margin and on track to win only 4 or 5 seats, it came out ahead by a whisker. At cause here is probably the low turnout. When turnout is so low, elections are even more unpredictable and even good pollsters will have lots of trouble accurately predicting the outcome – because tons of voters lie to them by saying that they will certainly vote when in fact a lot/most end up not voting. Therefore, given the low turnout it is hard to interpret this election as a significant defeat for the governing coalition – their real test will be in the local elections next month, where turnout will be much higher and the stakes fairly high as well. Nevertheless, it remains an unwelcome surprise for the government.

The HDZ’s list was likely boosted by the presence of Ruža Tomašić, the leader of the right-wing/far-right HSP AS, who was sixth on the party’s list but who won the most preference votes of any candidates on the list – she won 26.6% of all votes cast for the lists’ candidates. Tomašić is a prominent anti-corruption crusader who gained notoriety – and controversy – recently by saying that “Croatia is for Croatians” and that the “others” are just “guests”. It is unclear whether she will join her five HDZ colleagues in the European People’s Party (EPP) group.

It also helps that the HDZ tends to be very good at turning out voters and motivating its electorate, something which has allowed it to outperform the SDP in close elections – such as the 2007 legislative election or the 2009 local elections.

The Labourists too will be disappointed by their performance. National polling consistently gives them about 10% of voting intentions and they had a solid chance to win two seats in this election. Their result, barely above their 2011 result percentage-wise, was disappointing for them.

As is usually the case in EU elections, a whole slew of tiny parties and third parties did very well. 29% of voters cast votes for parties or lists which did not win any seats, over 9% cast votes for lists which did not even win over 1% of the vote. In Istria, Ivan Jakovčić’s list won 44.5% of the vote in the county. The HDSSB also did quite well, polling up to 22.5% in Osijek-Baranja County.

Unsurprisingly, the first EU elections in Croatia were marked by apathy and general indifference. Surprisingly, however, the governing party which had been expected to win ended up narrowly losing – the sign of rising discontent with the young left-wing government in the midst of recession and austerity, or just a quirk from low turnout?

Europe 2009: Final Parliamentary Groups

Well, the parliamentary groups have been formed, and we have seven groups. Though there were also seven groups for most of the 2004 legislature (except for the ITS interlude in 2007), there have been new groups, dead groups and so forth.

Firstly, here is the final distribution of MEPs by parliamentary group.

EPP 265
PASD 183
ECR 55
Greens-EFA 55
EFD 30
NI 29

The European People’s Party will form a group on its own, without the European Democrats sub-group (which is dead). The EPP has MEPs in all member countries except the United Kingdom, and the largest party within the EPP remains the German CDU with 34 MEPs (+8 CSU MEPs). Few surprises in the member parties, except for the Flemish N-VA which will sit with the Greens-EFA. In addition, all French MEPs elected on UMP lists will sit in the EPP group, including the 3 New Centre MEPs and 2 Modern Left. The Romanian Magyar László Tőkés, elected in 2007 as an EFA independent, has joined the EPP group like all Romanian Magyar MEPs. After all, Tőkés was the top candidate.

The Socialist group, renamed Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (PASD) to accommodate the Italian PD, has MEPs in all member countries except Latvia (the Harmony Centre, which I predicted would join PASD, has joined the EUL-NGL). In the end, all MEPs elected on the PD list in Italy (except for one South Tyrolean who joined EPP) will sit in the PASD. PASD has also welcomed former ALDE member DIKO (Democratic Party) from Cyprus, giving the PASD two MEPs from Cyprus (there is one Social Democrat, EDEK).  The PASD’s largest party is the German SPD with 23 MEPs. The PD is the second-largest with 21 MEPs.

No major changes for the Liberals, except for the negligible loss of Cypriot DIKO to PASD. ALDE has MEPs in all countries except Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Portugal. The German FDP, a right-liberal party, replaces the British Liberal Democrats, a left-liberal party, as the largest member party with 12 MEPs. As known before the elections, the Irish FF has joined ALDE. The European Democratic Party (EDP), which includes the French MoDem, has 9 MEPs (including 6 French MoDemers).

The Greens-EFA, with 55 MEPs, has actually more MEPs than in 2004, even when the 2004 parliament had more MEPs. The Greens-EFA have members in 14 countries, and the largest parties are the German Greens and French Greens with 14 MEPs each. The European Free Alliance has 7 MEPs: one Flemish (the conservative N-VA has joined the EFA), one Corsican (PNC), one Latvian-Russian (PCTVL), one Catalan (ERC), two Scots (SNP) and one Welsh (Plaid). The Estonian Independent Indrek Tarand has joined the group, as well as the Swedish Pirate Party.

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) has only 55 MEPs, quite smaller than I would have predicted. It has MEPs from 8 member states, and the British Conservatives (and Ulster Unionists) are the largest with 26 MEPs. The Polish PiS, with 15 MEPs, is the second-largest. Here is a list of members:

1 Flemish (Lijst Dedecker)
9 Czechs (ODS) from ED
1 Hungarian (MDF) from EPP
1 Latvian (TB/LNNK) from UEN
1 Lithuanian (Polish LLRA)
1 Dutch (ChristianUnion) from IND/DEM
15 Poles (PiS) from UEN
26 British (25 Conservatives and 1 Ulster Unionist) from ED

The Dutch CU-SGP electoral alliance, which elected two MEPs has one MEP (ChristianUnion) joining the ECR. Surprisingly, the Polish LLRA from Lithuania has also joined the ECR. The EUDemocrats Europarty has two MEPs, both from UKIP.

The European Left have 35 MEPs from 13 countries and the German Linke is the biggest party with 8 MEPs. Unsurprising composition, except for one of the two Latvian Harmony Centre MEPs joining the group. The Nordic Green Left (the NGL part of the EUL-NGL abbreviation) has 3 MEPs, though two of them (the Danish Socialist People’s Party) sit in the Green-EFA group, since they refuse to flirt with hardline old Communists like the Greek KKE or Czech KSČM.

Two groups have died, the UEN and Independence/Democracy. The member parties have gone different ways, although a few have formed a 30-member group – Europe of Freedom and Democracy – with MEPs from 8 different countries. The British UKIP, with 13 MEPs, is the largest party. Here is the composition of EFD:

2 Danes (DFP) from UEN
1 Finn (True Finns)
1 French (Libertas-MPF) from IND/DEM
2 Greeks (LAOS) from IND/DEM
9 Italians (Lega Nord) from UEN
1 Dutch (SGP) from IND/DEM
1 Slovak (SNS)
13 British (UKIP) from IND/DEM

As aforementioned, the Dutch CU-SGP electoral alliance split with one MEP joining ECR, the other, from the ultra-Protestant SGP joining the EFD. There is a slim chance the far-right Austrian FPÖ could join the group (giving it 32 MEPs).

The Non-Inscrits include the far-right [FPÖ, VB, Ataka, FN, Jobbik, TT, PVV, PRM, BNP] (23 from 9 countries), the Austrian anti-corruption MEP Hans-Peter Martin and his 3 MEPs, the sole Democratic Unionist from Northern Ireland, one of the two Latvian Harmony Centre MEPs, and the Spanish nationalist-liberal UPyD (they aren’t in ALDE since ALDE includes their enemies, EAJ and CiU).

Once again, awful predictions from yours truly, though I’m proud of my call on UPyD. Many thought they’d join ALDE.

Obituaries go out for Independence/Democracy, though the most important passing is that of the Union for a Europe of Nations (UEN). The UEN, the latest in a series of names, was founded by the French RPR as a Gaullist national-conservative group before 1979 and briefly included Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the SNP from Scotland during its existence.  The major members of the UEN were Lega Nord from Italy, PiS from Poland and Fianna Fáil from Ireland. The Europarty Alliance for a Europe of Nations, AEN, has 18 MEPs (15 PiS, 2 TT, 1 TB/LNNK).

Talking of other Europarties, the Anticapitalist Left (EACL) has 4 MEPs (3 from the Portuguese Left Bloc and one Irish Socialist). The Christian Political Movement (ECPM) has only one MEP, the Dutch ChristianUnion. The far-right Euronat has 5 MEPs (3 French FN, 2 BNP); the National Front has none.

Libertas, as mentioned earlier, has one MEP, Philippe de Villiers from France. Very far from the 100 or more Declan Ganley predicted. Ganley must also be very unhappy at wasting so much money on electing only an obnoxious French.

Europe 2009: How it ends

I’ve analyzed as best I could the European results by member state using each national party with little references to Europarties and Eurogroups. Europe-wide results have been a little conflicting due to problems in classifying parties by group. I’ll use the European Parliament’s numbers for this analysis:

EPP 264 (including 1 Italian PD-SVP)
PES 161
ALDE 80 (excluding Cypriot DIKO)
Greens-EFA 53
UEN 35
Others 93 (including British Tories [26], Italian PD [21], Czech ODS [9])

On these numbers, Independence and Democracy is dead – below the 25 seat threshold and it’s left with MEPs from only four countries (seven needed). In addition, 72% of the remaining ID members are UKIP MEPs. UEN could survive on these numbers because it has MEPs from seven countries. However, the Irish FF is included (it’s certain they’ll join ALDE) and the Polish Law and Justice (15 MEPs) is very likely to join the British Conservatives’ new neo-liberal Eurosceptic grouping – probably named European Conservatives – along with the Czech ODS. While they won’t have any trouble breaking the 25-seat threshold, they need MEPs from seven countries. I see the following parties joining:

Lijst Dedecker (Flanders): 1 MEP (counted in Others)
ODS (Czech Republic): 9 MEPs (Others)
Danish People’s Party (Denmark): 2 MEPs (UEN)
Lega Nord (Italy): 9 MEPs (UEN)
TB/LNNK (Latvia): 1 MEP (UEN)
Civic Union (Latvia): 2 MEPs (UEN)
Order and Justice (Lithuania): 2 MEPs (UEN)
CU-SGP (Netherlands): 2 MEPs (ID)
Law and Justice (Poland): 15 MEPs (UEN)
Conservatives and UUP (UK): 26 MEPs (Others)
9 Countries: 69 MEPs

EPP 264
PES 161
Greens-EFA 53
IND/DEM 16 (2 LAOS, 1 Libertas, 13 UKIP)
UEN 4 (3 Irish FF and 1 Slovakian SNS)
Others 56 (including Italian PD [21])

Now, a few changes. The Euro Parl results count the Cypriot Democratic Party (1 MEP) as Others, though it has announced it would join PES. Ireland’s Fianna Fail will join ALDE. The Italian PD has 21 MEPs (one MEP, a member of the South Tyrolean SVP, will join EPP) in Others who will probably join the renamed PES group – Alliance of Socialists and Democrats for Europe (ASDE). The Latvian Harmony Centre will do likewise. I assume Joe Higgins (Socialist Party-Ireland) and Elie Hoarau (AOM-France) will join the EUL-NGL. Assuming they all do what I think they’ll do, here is the new arithmetic.

EPP 264
ASDE 184
Greens-EFA 53
UEN 1 (1 Slovakian SNS)
Others 31

The Others are mainly far-right and Indies. You’re left with the Vlaams Belang, the Bulgarian Ataka, Indrek Tarand from Estonia, the French FN, Lithuanian Poles, Hungarian and British Nazis, the Dutch Wilders PVV, Hans-Peter Martin and the FPÖ in Austria, the Romanian PRM, Finnish True Finns, the Pirates, the Spanish UPyD, one DUPer from Ulster, and ĽS-HZDS from Slovakia. I could then assume the one Lithuanian Pole to join the Greens-EFA, bringing the Greenies up to 54 and others to 29. It is unlikely the UPyD will join the Liberals since they’d be sitting with their mortal enemies, Catalan and Basque nationalists. Tarand  is being floated around as a possible member of the new EC-MER group as is ĽS-HZDS. If they do join, you have 28 Others and 71 EC-MER. In the end, the Non-Inscrits would the far-right, Martin’s 3 MEPs, UPyD, Pirates, True Finns, and also the UKIP, LAOS, and Philippe de Villiers from the defunct ID and the Slovakian SNS from UEN. The far-right is very unlikely to form a group due to lack of possible members. These could end up being the new parliamentary groups:

EPP 264
ASDE 184
Greens-EFA 54
Others 45

Anyways, this is just speculation on my part and I could end up all wrong.

This mostly ends the Europe 2009 election season for my part. See you in 2014. Dear, that’s a long time.

Europe 2009: French Results and Analysis

This is the final posts on country-by-country overviews of the European election results. We end with France, where I’m able lots more analysis. We’ll start out with results:

UMP 27.87% (+11.23%) winning 29 seats (+12)
PS 16.48% (-12.42%) winning 14 seats (-17)
Europe Ecologie – The Greens 16.28% (+8.87%) winning 14 seats (+8)
MoDem 8.45% (-4.08%) winning 6 seats (-5)
Left Front – Alliance of the Overseas 6.47% (+0.59%) winning 5 seats (+2)
FN 6.34% (-3.47%) winning 3 seats (-4)
NPA 4.88% (+2.32%)
Libertas 4.8% (-3.6%) winning 1 seat (-2)
Independent Ecological Alliance 3.63% (+1.72%)

t/o: 40.65% (-2.14%)

EU Parliament 2009 %

UMP in blue, PS in red, Greens-EE in green, Left Front in the last red

Results by Euro Constituency (all those breaking 5% and the closest to 5%)

Nord-Ouest: UMP 24.22% (4), PS 18.1% (2), Greens 12.1% (1), FN 10.18% (1), MD 8.67% (1), Left 6.84% (1), NPA 5.8%, Libertas 4.26%
Ouest: UMP 27.16% (3), PS 17.29% (2), Greens 16.65% (2), Libertas 10.27% (1), MD 8.48% (1), NPA 5.13%, Left 4.58%
Est: UMP 29.20% (4), PS 17.24% (2), Greens 14.28% (1), MD 9.44% (1), FN 7.57% (1), NPA 5.64%, AEI 4.26%
Sud-Ouest: UMP 26.89% (4), PS 17.72% (2), Greens 15.83% (2), MD 8.61% (1), Left 8.16% (1), FN 5.94%, NPA 5.62%, AEI 4.24%
Sud-Est: UMP 29.34% (4), Greens 18.27% (3), PS 14.49% (2), FN 8.49% (1), MD 7.37% (1), Left 5.9% (1), NPA 4.33%
Massif Central-Centre: UMP 28.51% (3), PS 17.79% (1), Greens 13.58% (1), MD 8.15%, Left 8.06%, NPA 5.45%, FN 5.12%, Libertas 4.9%
Ile-de-France: UMP 29.6% (5), Greens 20.86% (4), PS 13.58% (2), MD 8.52% (1), Left 6.32% (1), FN 4.40%
Outre Mer: UMP 29.69% (1), Left-AOM 21.02% (1), PS 20.27% (1), Greens 16.25%, MD 9.29%, Libertas 2.88%

The results are pleasing for mainly two parties. Firstly, the UMP, a governing party winning, despite it being a weak victory, in an economic crisis in France is undeniably a remarkable feat. It is the first time since the UDF’s victory in 1979 that the presidential party has won the European elections. However, the most remarkable result of the night is that of the Greens and their Europe Écologie outfit. Their victory comes with the destruction of the Socialist Party, which finds itself in the same situation as it was between 1992 and 1995. The PS has been divided by the Reims Congress in November 2008, they have failed to offer any sort of platform since then, and their campaign has been hypocritical and very poor. The Green’s competition came also from Bayrou’s MoDem, though Bayrou destroyed his chances by calling Daniel Cohn-Bendit a pedophile in a TV debate. There are also socio-economic causes for the Greenies surprise wins, which I’ll explain later.


The UMP has won, that’s undeniable. However, this is quite a Pyrrhic victory for them. Their 28% is below Sarkozy’s 31% in April 2007, but Sarkozy had atleast Le Pen’s 10.4% as a vote reserve for the runoff then. Today, the UMP is totally isolated. The closest to them is Philippe de Villiers’ Libertas and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan’s DLR, but that’s statistically irrelevant. The regional elections in 2010, while the UMP will certainly gain (it would be quasi-impossible to fall lower than their disastrous 2004 levels), the new system in use since 2004 is a classic two-round system. Winning 28% won’t suffice to cry victory anymore. The UMP has unarguably moved farther east/southeast, though to my surprise, the UMP’s gains in the old moderate right departments (Lozère, Aveyron, Val-de-Loire region) have been about the same as the UMP’s gains in the East. Sarkozy’s gains with manual workers in 2007 have been quasi-eliminated, with the biggest drops recorded in those hard hit by the recession (Oise, Moselle, Pas-de-Calais). The UMP seems to have lost a few Le Pen voters who have returned to the FN fold (though these loses seem limited to the North West and Alpes-Maritimes). The map also shows a relatively strong Baudis effect in the South West, though it’s much weaker than the similar effect in 1994. The UMP’s top candidates in the South West but also Massif-Centre have proved to be better candidates than Sarkozy and the important improvements on Sarko’s performance have come in those departments of Chiraquie/Pompidolie and “Baudisie”. Maine-et-Loire’s improvement is due to a strong favourite son effect for the top candidate, the President of the Maine-et-Loire CG, Christophe Béchu, which has been relatively confined to his department though Béchu was undoubtedly a fine candidate for the Ouest as a whole. However, there has been a Royal effect in Poitou-Charentes, with the UMP’s gains more limited in that region and the PS (the list was led by a local ally of Royal) performing above average.


The PS has lost because it lost a key category, middle-class generally well-off educated urban voters, to the Greens. The Greater Paris region is a perfect example. Also look at the poor showings in the Rhone (Lyon), Bouches-du-Rhone (Marseille), Isere (Grenoble – one of the most Green cities in France), Ille-et-Vilaine (Rennes), Gironde (Bordeaux), Bas-Rhin (Strasbourg), Herault (Montpellier – another quite Green city). Loire-Atlantique is probably due to Saint-Nazaire’s industrial region since the well-off areas voted Green. Their strongest departments are more rural or industrialized (lower-class blue collar) than average (where Greenies don’t poll well). Also, losing Nièvre (Mitterrand’s home turf, where the PS has maitained its dominance even without its founder) is a sign of an extremely bad election. They lost it in the 1992 regionals, 1993 legislatives, 1994 Euros.


A mix old Greenie strongholds in Savoie, Brittany, the Greater Grenoble-Lyon area, and Alsace; and recent success in urban areas (on the back of the centre-leftist weakly Socialist middle-class switching from PS to Greenies, a la 1992 and 1993). The seemingly ‘poor’ result in Alsace is due to Waechter’s list, which got 5.85% in Bas-Rhin and 7% in Haut-Rhin. When comparing the sum of EE+AEI in Alsace, you’re very much above the Greenies’ 1989 result. You also have an important favourite son effect for the various top candidates. Aveyron for Bove, Drome for Rivasi (she represented Valence between 1997 and 2002), Guadeloupe for Durimel. The Green success in Corse is due to the fact that a member of the Corsican PNC (Francois Alfonsi, now MEP) was second on Rivasi’s list. The Greenies almost won Corse-du-Sud, in fact. As expected, the industrial areas of the North and East and the left-wing rural areas of the Massif-Central are not fertile land for the Greenies. Neither are areas where the CPNT is powerful (Somme, Manche, Gironde’s result is too influenced by Bordeaux and its agglomeration for it to come out). The Greenies have regained strength lost in 2004 in Ile-de-France. They probably took most of CAP21′s vote in the constituency in 2004 in addition to the middle-class urban block described above (especially important in Ile-de-France, much more so than a joke like CAP21).

To prove the urban vote theory, here are some staggering numbers of major cities:

Paris: UMP 29.97, Greens 27.46, PS 14.69, MoDem 8.31, Left 5.05
Lyon: UMP 30.84, Greens 23.7, PS 15.51, MD 8.74
Rennes: Greens 27.41, UMP 21.87, PS 19.81, MD 8.54, Left 6.04
Montpellier: UMP 24.5, Greens 23.16, PS 17.1, Left 7.64, MD 7.61, FN 5.64, NPA 5.54
Mulhouse: UMP 26.35, Greens 18.05, PS 16.22, FN 10, MD 8.64
Bordeaux: UMP 31.54, Greens 22.34, PS 15, MD 9.25, Left 5.99
Marseille: UMP 27.85, Greens 16.33, PS 15.89, FN 11.6, Left 7.84, MD 6.17
Grenoble: Greens 29.04, UMP 21.22, PS 19.09, MD 7.52, Left 6.87
Toulouse: UMP 30.07, Greens 22.05, PS 16.96, Left 7.92, MD 7.45, NPA 5.17
Nantes: UMP 25.78, Greens 25.54, PS 17.95, MD 8.18, Libertas 5.27
Neuilly: UMP 65.17, Greens 11.83, MD 5.95
Versailles: UMP 43.41, Greens 15.4, MD 9.67, Libertas 8.05, PS 7.84
Le Havre: UMP 21.84, Greens 17.66, PS 12.94, PCF 10.62, FN 8.26, NPA 5.6
Annecy: UMP 31.55, Greens 23.19, PS 12.69, MD 9.06, FN 5.67
Strasbourg: UMP 27.84, PS 23.36, Greens 21, MD 9.87, FN 5.06


The MoDem’s electorate is very loose and has shifting loyalties (goes well with its leader, I suppose). Along with the PS, they lost the urban vote I described above, to the Greenies. Unsurprising and a very uniform map. The remnants of the UDF map plus a surprisingly strong vote for Lepage in Normandie (she was councillor of a town in the Calvados), a favourite son vote for Bruno Joncour in Cotes-d’Armor (he’s the Mayor and was second on the list). Tarn is a bit weird, but the MoDem’s number 2 on the Sud Ouest list is Mayor of a city there (Puylaurens) and an incumbent MEP (defeated now). Results in the Greater Paris, Greater Lyon (the UDF was rather strong here) and Centre are deceiving. The MoDem’s map is shifting away from the UDF map more to a personal vote map, especially with the MoDem’s continued high performances in Bayrou’s home turn, Pyrenées-Atlantiques.


Some strong showings in the old PCF lands, especially the Red Rural areas (Limousin, Allier) plus the Gard (old PCF stronghold), Cher (ditto, but less so). The PCF still dominates the far-left share of the workers’ vote, unsurprisingly little NPA breakthrough there. They’re far stronger than Besancenot’s bunch in the NPDC region. I don’t see what the Left Party/Mélenchon adds. I thought the Ariège and Hautes-Pyrenées at first, but there’s a sizeable PCF vote there, though this year’s showing is quite high. The only interesting “additions” outside of the PCF realm are maybe the Landes (Emmanuelli, a member of the PS’ hard left which has not joined the PG). Even Indre-et-Loire and… Lozère have some Communist strenght. In the former, in Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (a poor industrial Tours suburb) and in the Red Cévennes in the latter.


The strong FN vote is not returning strongly in Alsace or Lorraine. It seems more of a return to a 1986-style map (Pieds-Noir territory plus some strength out East) plus Nord Ouest (I assume a fair share of FN voters who voted for Sarkozy in 2007 have returned due to the recession hitting harder there than elsewhere). The FN is obviously dead out West, but that isn’t news. However, I would note that the FN has done best where its old figures were on top – Marine Le Pen did quite well in the Nord Ouest and JMLP in the Sud Est. In fact, the differences between the Orne (in Marine’s constituency) and an old FN stronghold like Eure-et-Loir (Massif-Centre) are interesting.


Unsurprising far-left map, but there’s a number of interesting intricacies in this map. Firstly, the decline of the old “Maoist”/young crazy revolutionary vote in the Greater Paris which probably went Green. The NPA’s share of the vote in Ile-de-France is very bad for them. I remember reading somewhere that the NPA was becoming more working class and less young revolutionary idiot than the LCR was. I would note the poor results in the NPDC, proof if there is of the NPA not breaking through with blue collar workers, though the results in industrial Lorraine seem pretty solid. As always, a fair share of the modern far-left vote used to vote PCF in the ’80′s and early ’90′s and have started to vote for Trots (Laguiller then Besancenot) since 2002 if not before. Reflected on the map. Overall, not very promising at all. You have them losing votes in the far-left’s traditional Nordistes strongholds and also loosing the young (and well-off, o/c) revolutionary vote in urban areas. A very unstructured map, though the NPA doesn’t give me the impression that elections are a big thing for them.


Traditional de Villiers map for the Ouest with his results declining the father out you get from Montaigu. The CPNT effect has been quite minimal, visible only in the Somme, Manche. A lot of the Hunters vote went FN or UMP, probably the latter more than the former. Marie-Claude Bompard was second on Patrick Louis’ list and could explain the Vaucluse result. The Est results probably also based on favourite sons.

Random statistics for other interesting lists:

The FN dissident (the We Hate Marine Le Pen group) did very poorly. Carl Lang got 1.52% in the North West and Jean-Claude Martinez got 0.92% in the South West. A list supported by Carl Lang’s Party of France got 1.88%. Anti-Zionist got 1.3% in Ile-de-France (2.83% in the 93). Parti Breton: 2.36% in Bretagne (5 departments), EAJ: 1.98% in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, Batasuna: 2.70% in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques. The old CNIP got 0.07% nationally, definitely a good start for a great future! Newropeans got 0.01% nationally, beaten by the Stalinists (0.02%) and Royalists (0.02% also). The biggest losers are some list called Programme contre la précarité et le sexisme, winning a great 24 votes nationally.

Europe 2009: United Kingdom Results

As expected, the UK Euro results were marked by an unprecedented defeat for the governing Labour Party and also a drop in already very low turnout (though much smaller than earlier predicted, thankfully). Euro elections in the UK are held in twelve regional constituencies with a threshold of 5% in each, with seats allocated through proportional representation. Only Northern Ireland uses the single-transferable vote system, which is also used in all other Northern Irish elections. Prior to 1999, the UK was the only European country to elect MEPs via FPTP. The UK’s delegation has been reduced from 75 to 72 since 2004. For that reason, the results table gives the seat change including the loss of 3 seats nationally but also (second number) the relative seat change, using results for 72 seats in 2004.

Conservative 27.7% (+1.0%) winning 25 seats (-2/+1)
UKIP 16.5% (+0.3%) winning 13 seats (+1/+1)
Labour 15.7% (-6.9%) winning 13 seats (-6/-5)
Liberal Democrats 13.7% (-1.2%) winning 11 seats (-1/+1)
Green Party 8.6% (+2.4%) winning 2 seats (nc)
British National Party 6.2% (+1.3%) winning 2 seats (+2/+2)
Scottish National Party 2.1% (-+0.7%) winning 2 seats (nc)
Plaid Cymru 0.8% (-0.1%) winning 1 seat (nc)

Results by region (all parties over 5% and the best party under 5%):

South East England: Con 34.8% (4), UKIP 18.8% (2), LD 14.1% (2), Green 11.6% (1), Lab 8.2% (1), BNP 4.4%
London: Con 27.4% (3), Lab 21.3% (2), LD 13.7% (1), Green 10.9% (1), UKIP 10.8% (1), BNP 4.9%
North West England: Con 25.6% (3), Lab 20.4% (2), UKIP 15.8% (1), LD 14.3% (1), BNP 8% (1), Green 7.7%, ED 2.4%
East of England: Con 31.2% (3), UKIP 19.6% (2), LD 13.8% (1), Lab 10.5% (1), Green 8.8%, BNP 6.1%, UK First 2.4%
South West England: Con 30.2% (3), UKIP 22.1% (2), LD 17.2% (1), Green 9.3%, Lab 7.7%, BNP 3.9%
West Midlands: Con 28.1% (2), UKIP 21.3% (2), Lab 17% (1), LD 12% (1), BNP 8.6%, Green 6.2%, ED 2.3%
Yorkshire and the Humber: Con 24.5% (2), Lab 18.8% (1), UKIP 17.4% (1), LD 13.2% (1), BNP 9.8% (1), Green 8.5%, ED 2.6%
Scotland: SNP 29.1% (2), Lab 20.8% (2), Con 16.8% (1), LD 11.5% (1), Green 7.3%, UKIP 5.2%, BNP 2.5%
East Midlands: Con 30.2% (2), Lab 16.9% (1), UKIP 16.4% (1), LD 12.3% (1), BNP 8.7%, Green 6.8%, ED 2.3%
Wales: Con 21.2% (1), Lab 20.3% (1), Plaid 18.5% (1), UKIP 12.8% (1), LD 10.7%, Green 5.6%, BNP 5.4%, Christian 1.9%
North East England: Lab 25% (1), Con 19.8% (1), LD 17.6% (1), UKIP 15.4%, BNP 8.9%, Green 5.8%, ED 2.2%
Northern Ireland: SF 26% (1), DUP 18.2% (1), UCU-F 17.1% (1), SDLP 16.2%, TUV 13.6%, Alliance 5.6%, Green 3.2%

UK EU 2009

The map and result table above show the extent of the Labour rout. Third place, behind UKIP, and losing in Labour’s historic strongholds. In the south of England, they’ve been reduced, at the Euro level atleast, to a fringe party left fighting with the Greenies. In Cornwall for example, Labour is in sixth – behind the Greenies and Mebyon Kernow (Cornish autonomists, who polled an excellent 7%)! Their only “wins” are in urban areas in the populated areas of central and northern England (Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, County Durham). At this point, Labour seems to be a purely urban/industrial party. The Conservatives, however, are quite far from a real landslide in the popular vote, with less than 30%. They break 40% in only a few places and 50% only in Gibraltar. However, in a general election, one would expect a lot of the UKIP vote to go to the Conservatives (and Labour to a lesser extent and to a much, much lesser extent, the LibDems). Not too bad a night for the Greenies, with a nice vote increase and first place in the wealthy liberal cities of Brighton & Hove, Oxford and Norwich. However, they must be pretty angry at missing out on seats in Scotland, North West, East, South West and a second seat in the South East. They’re perfectly right that a national constituency, used in most countries, would produce real proportional results and not fake proportional. On a very sad note for sanity and non-fascists, the British National (or Nazi) Party got not one MEP, but two MEPs. Including an outright racist and former Nazi (real one, I’m not using it as an insult), Andrew Brons, in Yorkshire and the Humber. Nick Griffin was elected in the North West (a massive campaign to prevent his election, led notably by the Greenies, failed). Griffin is not any better than Brons (the same can be said for any BNPer, really).

Scotland Wales EU 2009

Terrible results for Labour in it’s Celtic heartlands of Scotland and Wales. In Scotland, the SNP seems to have replaced Labour, for the time being atleast, as Scotland’s natural governing party. The SNP has won pleasing results in urban Labour areas (the Glasgow-Edinburgh belt). Labour’s defeat in Wales by the Conservatives is even more spectacular, Wales having voted for Labour since 1918. Even in Labour’s Welsh strongholds north of Cardiff, they’re not even breaking 35%. In Rhondda, where they polled 68% in the 2005 general election, they’re polling 34.7% today. However, the results in Wales are only encouraging to the Tories, who are on track to stack up a number of gains in the next general election. Plaid is obviously on track to re-gain Ceredigion, but they’ve fallen flat on their noses due to their coalition with Labour in Cardiff.

The result maps for Scotland are by local government area and in Wales, they’re by 2005 Westminster constituency.

The Northern Irish results are not really that groundbreaking and the claims of a massive historical defeat for unionists is laughable. While Sinn Féin is certainly far ahead, they’re polling slightly below their 2004 level and the other nationalist party, the SDLP has only marginally improved. The only reason the DUP has taken such a hit is because Jim Allister’s Traditional Unionists have done well (13.5% on FPVs). The Ulster Unionists-Conservatives have marginally improved on the UUP’s 2004 result. Overall, the seat distribution remains unchanged and the votes stand at nats 41.9% (42.2% in 2004) vs. unionists at 48.6% (48.5% in 2004). Alliance candidates or an Indie supported by the Alliance in 2004 took 5.5% in 2009 and 6.6% in 2004. The Alliance, close to the LibDems, claim to be independent of the nat/unionist divide and non-sectarian. IIRC, their preferences generally split more favourably for unionists (though the split is pretty even).

Europe 2009: Belgium

Belgium had a busy election day on June 7, with regional elections for all regional governments (four in total) and European elections. The regional elections overshadowed the Euros by far, due to their possible long-reaching effects on the federal governance of the very divided country.


Instead of using the stupid names adopted by the various parties and because I long for a return to the old 1950s political setup in Belgium, I’ve decided to classify the parties as Catholic (the old PSC-CVP – CDV in Flanders, CDH in Wallonia), Liberals (the old Liberal Party – Open VLD in Flanders, MR in Wallonia), and Socialists (the old PSB-BSP – SP.a in Flanders, PS in Wallonia). Do note, however, that while the Liberals and Socialists have links cross-community, the CDV has no relation to the CDH – the CDV has become more and more of a Flemish autonomist (some will say nationalist, even) party and the CDH has gradually abandoned its Catholic Party roots. Other parties include the far-right nationalist Vlaams Belang, the conservative New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) [in 2004, the N-VA had an electoral cartel with the CDV] and the Fortuynist Lijst Dedecker; all of which are often considered to be Flemish nationalists.

Flanders (includes 6 from Dutch Group in Brussels)

Note that the Catholics and N-VA had an electoral cartel here, as did the Socialists and the Social Liberals (then called Spirit)

Catholics 22.86% (-3.23%) winning 31 seats (+2)
Vlaams Belang 15.28% (-8.86%) winning 21 seats (-11)
Socialists 15.27% (-4.39%) winning 19 seats (-1)
Liberals 14.99% (-4.80%) winning 21 seats (-4)
New Flemish Alliance 13.06% (new) winning 16 seats (+10)
Lijst Dedecker 7.62% (new) winning 8 seats (+8)
Green 6.77% (-0.83%) winning 7 seats (+1)
Union of Francophones 1.15% (+0.08%) winning 1 seat (±0)
Social Liberals 1.09% (new) winning 0 seats (-5)

Secessionist/Nationalist Parties 35.96% (+11.82%)

The marking thing about the Flemish election is the decline of the major parties (CDV, VLD, SP) at the profit of right-wing nationalist parties, notably the N-VA (a very good result for them) and Dedecker (not so good, compared to polls which had him on 16% not so long ago). The current grand coalition (CDV, VLD, SP, and N-VA) led by Kris Peeters (CDV) will likely continue. However, the N-VA could drop out due to the Socialist’s reticences of working with them. Some have warned that the N-VA’s language policy (force everybody in Flanders, Francos included, to speak Dutch) and nationalism could be dangerous for Flanders’ international standing. However, the CDV base is still very attached to their former electoral partners.


Socialist 32.77% (-4.14%) winning 29 seats (-5)
Liberals 23.41% (-0.89%) winning 19 seats (-1)
Ecolo 18.54% (+10.02%) winning 14 seats (+11)
Catholics 16.14% (-1.48%) winning 13 seats (-1)
FN 2.86% (-5.26%) winning 0 seats (-4)

As in Flanders, the major parties took a hit in Wallonia, but to a lesser extent. The Socialists, yet again involved in scandals, held up remarkably well. While Ecolo’s result is not as good as they might have expected based on some polls which put them second, the party is the only winner in these elections and they’re the kingmakers. The Rudy Demotte (PS) coalition between the PS and the CDH has a majority, but the CDH has been very reticent to continuing it. They had productive talks with the liberal MR and they’re opening talks with the Ecolos, who seem to enjoy the courting they’ve recevied very much. A MR-CDH coalition does not have a majority, but a MR-CDH-Ecolo one obviously does. The MR has flat-out refused to form a grand coalition with the PS. A PS-Ecolo coalition also has a majority.

Brussels – French Seats

Liberals 29.82% (-2.68%) winning 24 seats (-1)
Socialist 26.24% (-7.10%) winning 21 seats (-5)
Ecolo 20.22% (+10.53%) winning 16 seats (+9)
Catholics 14.80% (+0.72%) winning 11 seats (+1)
FN 1.91% (-3.51%) winning 0 seats (-4)

The PS-CDH-Ecolo has a majority, but I doubt it will survive. Here, a MR-Ecolo, MR-CDH-Ecolo, or PS-Ecolo coalition all have majorities. I personally would put my money on a MR-led coalition.

Brussels – Dutch Seats

Liberals 23.07% (+3.17%) winning 4 seats (±0)
Vlaams Belang 17.51% (-16.56%) winning 3 seats (-3)
Socialists 19.46% (+1.78%) winning 4 seats (+1)
Catholics 14.85% (-1.92%) winning 3 seats (±0)
Green 11.20% (+1.4%) winning 2 seats (+1)
New Flemish Alliance 4.99% (new) winning 1 seat (+4)
Lijst Dedecker 3.78% (new) winning 0 seats (±0)

A so-called “Jamaican” coalition (using the German party colours, with black for Catholics and yellow for Liberals) has been formed between the VLD, CDV and Groen. The Flemish community in Brussels has two of the five portfolios and one of the three state secretary jobs but this government will govern the city’s Flemish Community Commission (in charge of linguistic affairs, education, healthcare from Flemings in Brussels). The old government was composed of the VLD and Socialists.

German Community:

Catholics 27.02% (-5.77%) winning 7 seats (-1)
Socialists 19.30% (+0.29%) winning 5 seats (
Liberals 17.52% (-3.47%) winning 4 seats (-1)
Ecolo 11.50% (+3.32%) winning 3 seats (+1)
ProDG (German minority party) 17.49% (+5.8%) winning 4 seats (+1)
Vivant 7.16% (-0.18%) winning 2 seats

The government of Belgium’s small German community has been formed. It is the same as before, a Socialist-Liberal-ProDG coalition led by Karl-Heinz Lambertz (Socialist).


Dutch-Language Electoral College

Note that the Catholics and N-VA had an electoral cartel here, as did the Socialists and the Social Liberals (then called Spirit)

Catholics 23.26% (-4.89%) winning 3 seats (nc)
Liberals 20.56% (-1.35%) winning 3 seats (-4)
Vlaams Belang 15.88% (-7.28%) winning 2 seats (-1)
Socialists 13.23% (-4.60%) winning 2 seats (-1)
New Flemish Alliance 9.88% (new) winning 1 seat (+1)
Green 7.9% (-0.08%) winning 1 seat (nc)
Lijst Dedecker 7.28% (new) winning 1 seat (+1)

These results, compared to the Flemish regionals, tell the popularity of Guy Verhofstadt, the former Prime Minister of Belgium. Verhofstadt was the VLD’s top candidate and could become a major player in future European politics.

French-Language Electoral College

Liberals 26.05% (-1.53%) winning 2 seats (-1)
Socialist 29.1% (-6.99%) winning 3 seats (-1)
Ecolo 22.88% (+13.03%) winning 2 seats (+1)
Catholics 13.34% (-1.80%) winning 1 seat (nc)
FN 3.57% (-3.88%) winning 0 seats (nc)

There seems to be much more facility in voting for a Green at the Euro level than at the regional level. Maybe it’s because Brussels is included, but there remains a higher Green vote at the Euro level than at the regional level. Maybe it’s because voters know that voting Green at the Euro level has quasi-null impact on the European Parliament, while they’re more skeptical of placing Greenies in power at a level which directly concerns them.

German-Language Electoral College

Catholics 32.25% (-10.23%) winning 1 seat (nc)
Liberals 20.37% (-2.42%)
Ecolo 15.58% (+5.09%)
Socialists 14.63% (-0.31%)

The German seat should use STV.

Europe 2009: Results

Here is the first post in a series of posts concerning the various Euro results from June 7. The results for the major parties winning seats (or not, in a few cases) are presented here, along with a very brief statistical analysis of what happened. If applicable, a map of the results is also presented. Again, except for the Germany map, all of these maps are my creations.


ÖVP 30% (-2.7%) winning 6 seats (nc)
SPÖ 23.8% (-9.5%) winning 4 seats (-3)
HP Martin’s List 17.7% (+3.7%) winning 3 seats (+1)
FPÖ 12.8% (+6.5%) winning 2 seats (+1)
Greens 9.7% (-3.2%) winning 2 seats (nc)
BZÖ 4.6%

As I expected, the junior partner in government, the centre-right ÖVP came out on top but the most surprising was the ÖVP’s decisive margin of victory over its senior partner, the social democratic SPÖ. In fact, the SPÖ, like the German SPD, has won its worst result since 1945. This is probably due to a poor campaign a poor top candidate – Hannes Swoboda. Swoboda ranted against job losses and outsourcing when he himself did the same thing to his employees at Siemens. The good result came from Hans-Peter Martin’s anti-corruption outfit, which got a third seat and increased it’s vote. While improving on its poor 2004 result, the far-right FPÖ is far from the 17.5% it won in the 2008 federal elections. A lot is due to abstention (anti-Euro voters being a large contingent of the abstentionists) and also Martin’s success. The Greenies have unsurprisingly fallen, though they held their second seat due to late (and still incoming) postal votes. The BZÖ of the late Jorg Haider fell just short of the threshold, and it did not win Haider’s Carinthian stronghold. Turnout was 45.3%, slightly up on 2004.


GERB 24.36% (+2.68%) winning 5 seats (nc)
BSP 18.5% (-2.91%) winning 4 seats (-1)
DPS 14.14% (-6.12%) winning 3 seats (-1)
Attack 11.96% (-2.24%) winning 2 seats (-1)
NDSV 7.96% (+1.89%) winning 2 seats (+1)
Blue Coalition (UDF and DSB) 7.95% (-1.14%) winning 1 seat (+1)
Lider 5.7%

The pro-European centre-right GERB won, as in 2007, defeating the Socialists (BSP, officialy grouped with smaller parties in the ‘Coalition for Bulgaria’). The Turkish minority party DPS fell significantly compared to its surprisingly excellent 2007 result. This is due to higher turnout and to competition (by Lider) in the very active vote buying market in Bulgaria. The liberal NDSV led by former Bulgarian monarch Simeon II came back from the dead to win 2 seats and increase its vote share – all this due to a top candidate who had a high personal profile and popularity in an election where person and popularity are very important.


Democratic Rally 35.7% (+7.5%) winning 2 seats
AKEL 34.9% (+7%) winning 2 seats
Democratic Party 12.3% (-4.8%) winning 1 seat
Movement for Social Democracy 9.9% (-0.9%) winning 1 seat (+1)
European Party 4.1% (-6.7%) winning 0 seats (-1)

To my surprise, the opposition centre-right (albeit pro-reunification) DISY defeated the governing communist AKEL. However, both parties increased their share of the vote compared to 2004, mainly on the back of the centrist anti-reunification DIKO and the Social Democrats (who won a seat due to the collapse of the liberal European Party).

Czech Republic

Civic Democrats (ODS) 31.45% (+1.41%) winning 9 seats (±0)
Social Democrats (ČSSD) 22.38% (+13.6%) winning 7 seats (+5)
Communist Party (KSČM) 14.18% (-6.08%) winning 4 seats (-2)
KDU-ČSL 7.64% (-1.93%) winning 2 seats (±0)
Sovereignty 4.26%

Of the shocking results of the night, the Czech result was a shocker to me. I had predicted the Social Democrats to win all along (most polls agreed, albeit very late polls showed a narrow ODS lead), and you have this very large ODS victory that really comes out of the blue. This is really quite a piss poor result for the ČSSD and its controversial and, in my opinion, poor, leader, Jiří Paroubek. I wasn’t surprised by the results of either the Communists (on a tangent, the KSČM is the only formerly ruling communist party which hasn’t changed it name and it remains very much stuck in 1950) or the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL). The KSČM’s loses were predictable because 2004 was an especially fertile year for them (the ČSSD was in government, a very unpopular government). Two small parties which won seats in 2004 – the centre-right SNK European Democrats (11.02% and 2 seats) and the far-right populist Independents (8.18% and 2 seats) suffered a very painful death this year. The SNK polled 1.66%, the Independents (most of which were Libertas candidates) won 0.54%. The Greens, a parliamentary party, won a very deceiving result – 2.06%. This is probably due to turnout, which remained at 28%.


Social Democrats 21.49 % (-11.1%) winning 4 seats (-1)
Venstre 20.24% (+0.9%) winning 3 seats (nc)
Socialist People’s Party 15.87% (+7.9%) winning 2 seats (+1)
Danish People’s Party 15.28% (+8.5%) winning 2 seats (+1)
Conservative People’s Party 12.69% (+1.3%) winning 1 seat (nc)
People’s Movement Against the EU 7.20% (+2.0%) winning 1 seat (nc)
Social Liberal Party 4.27% (-2.1%) winning 0 seats (-1)
June Movement 2.37% (-6.7%) winning 0 seats (-1)
Liberal Alliance 0.59%

Denmark EU 2009

Red: SD, Blue: Venstre, Purple: SF, Green: DF

No real surprise in the Danish results, which were as I expected them to be. The Social Democrats drop compared to their superb 2004 showing was to be expected, obviously. Obviously, these loses were profitable not to the government (Venstre, Liberals) but to the Socialists (SF) and the far-right (DF). SF and DF have won their best result in any Danish election, either European or legislative. The June Movement, the second anti-EU movement which is in decline since it’s shock 16% in 1999, has lost its sole remaining MEP. The older (and leftier) People’s Movement has picked up some of the June Movement’s vote, though its results are far from excellent. Despite an electoral alliance with the Social Democrats, the Social Liberals (Radikal Venstre) lost its MEP.


Centre 26.1% winning 2 seats (+1)
Indrek Tarand (Ind) 25.8% winning 1 seat (+1)
Reform 15.3% winning 1 seat (±0)
Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica 12.2% winning 1 seat (±0)
Social Democrats 8.7% winning 1 seat (-2)
Estonian Greens 2.7%

Estonia 2009

Turnout was up 17% in Estonia over 2004, reaching 44% (26.8% in 2004), correcting the weird result of 2004 which saw the normally weak Social Democrats come out on top. However, the surprising result here was Reform’s rout (compared to the 2007 general elections) at the profit of Indrek Tarand, a popular independent. The opposition Centre Party, however, came out on top. However, the map clearly shows that Tarand took votes from all places – Centre, Reform, right, Greenies (winning a very deceiving 2.7%), and Social Democrats. The Centre came out on top purely due to the Russian vote in Ida-Viru and in Tallinn, the capital (despite the name, the Centre performs very well in urban areas – it’s not at all a rural centrist party a la Finland).


National Coalition 23.2% (-0.5%) winning 3 seats (-1)
Centre 19% (-4.4%) winning 3 seats (-1)
Social Democratic Party 17.5% (-3.7%) winning 2 seats (-1)
Greens 12.4% (+2%) winning 2 seats (+1)
True Finns 9.8% (+9.3%) winning 1 seat (+1)
Swedish People’s Party 6.1% (+0.4%) winning 1 seat (nc)
Left Alliance 5.9% (-3.2%) winning 0 seats (-1)
Christian Democrats 4.2% (-0.1%) winning 1 seat (+1)

Finland EU 2009

No surprises from Finland, which came out roughly as expected. The junior partner in government, the centre-right National Coalition (Kok) defeated its senior partner, the agrarian liberal Centre Party. However, the Finnish left (SDP and Left) suffered a very cold shower, winning its worst result in years. The Left even lost its sole MEP. A lot of that left-wing vote probably went to the Greenies (who won a very good result) and also the anti-immigration True Finns (in coalition with the Christian Democrats, which allowed the Christiandems to get one MEP). The Swedish People’s Party ended up holding its seat. The map is quite typical of Finnish elections, with the agrarian Centre dominating in the sparsely populated north and the National Coalition dominating in middle-class urban (Helsinki, where they narrowly beat out the Greenies for first) and suburban areas. The Swedish vote is concentrated on the Åland islands (over 80% of the vote for them) but also in small fishing communities on the west coast of Finland (which does not show up on the map).


CDU/CSU 30.7% + 7.2% (-6.6%) winning 42 seats (-7)
SPD 20.8% (-0.7%) winning 23 seats (nc)
Greens 12.1% (+0.2%) winning 14 seats (+1)
Free Democrats 11% (+4.9%) winning 12 seats (+5)
The Left 7.6% (+1.5%) winning 8 seats (+1)

In the EU’s most populated country, the Social Democrats took a major hit by failing to gain anything after the SPD’s horrible (worst since 1945) result in 2004. Overall, the Christian Democrats (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel and its Bavarian sister, the CSU, won as in 2004 but their vote also took a hit (the CDU/CSU was a popular opposition party then, they’re the senior government party now). The winners were of course the Greens, who held on to their remarkable 2004 result and in fact gained a 14th MEP, but certainly the right-liberal Free Democrats (FDP). The Left also gained slightly compared to 2004. The Left’s map remains largely a map of the old DDR but, for the first time, you have darker shades appearing in the West – specifically in the industrial regions of the Saar, the Ruhr and Bremen city. In the end the CSU had no problems with the 5% threshold and they won a relatively decent (compared to most recent results, not 2004 or 2006) result – 48% – in Bavaria. Frei Wahler took 6.7% in Bavaria, and 1.7% federally.


PASOK 36.64% (+2.61%) winning 8 seats (nc)
New Democracy 32.29% (-10.72%) winning 8 seats (-3)
Communist Party 8.35% (-1.13%) winning 2 seats (-1)
Popular Orthodox Rally 7.14% (+3.02%) winning 2 seats (+1)
Coalition of the Radical Left 4.7% (+0.54%) winning 1 seat (nc)
Ecologist Greens 3.49% (+2.88%) winning 1 seat (+1)
Pan-Hellenic Macedonian Front 1.27%

Greece EU 2009

No Greek surprise overall, though the Greenies’ poor result could be one. As expected, the opposition ‘socialist’ PASOK defeated the governing unpopular and corrupt right-wing New Democracy. However, there remains no great love for PASOK, partly due to the fact that both ND and PASOK are very similar. The Communist Party (KKE), one of Europe’s most communist communist parties (it still lives in 1951, decrying bourgeois and capitalists), won 8.35%, slightly above its 2007 electoral result but below the KKE’s excellent 2004 result (over 9%). The surprise came from LAOS and the Greens. The Greenies, who were polling 8-11% in the last polls, fell to a mere 3% partly due to a controversial video by the Green Party leader who said that Macedonia (FYROM, the country) should be allowed to keep its name (s0mething which does not go down well in Greece). Most of the Green strength in polls came from disenchanted ND supporters who ended up voting LAOS (the ultra-Orthodox kooks). The Radical Left (SYRIZA) won a rather poor result, probably due to the fact that it is seen as responsible for the violence and lootings during the 2008 riots in Athens.


Fidesz 56.36% winning 14 seats (+2)
Socialist 17.37% winning 4 seats (-5)
Jobbik 14.77% winning 3 seats (+3)
Hungarian Democratic Forum 5.31% winning 1 seat (nc)

The surprise in Hungary came from the spectacular result of the far-right quasi-Nazi Jobbik (which has its own private militia), which did much better than any poll or exit poll had predicted. Jobbik’s results significantly weakened the conservative Fidesz which won “only” 56% (down from 65-70% in some polls). The governing Socialist MSZP took a spectacular thumping, as was widely expected. While the right-wing MDF held its seat, the liberal SZDSZ (f0rmer coalition partner in the MSZP-led government until 2008) lost both of its seats.


Fine Gael 29.1% (+1.3%) winning 4 seats (-1)
Fianna Fáil 24.1% (-5.4%) winning 3 seats (-1)
Labour 13.9% (+3.4%) winning 3 seats (+2)
Sinn Féin 11.2% (+0.1%) winning 0 seats (-1)
Libertas 3.1% (new) winning 0 seats (new)
Socialist 1.5% (+0.2%) winning 1 seat (+1)
Green Party 1.1% (-3.2%)

As expected, Fine Gael came out on top of FPVs in Ireland, inflicting a major defeat on the governing Fianna Fáil. Fianna Fáil, did not, however, slip to third behind Labour as some pollsters made it seem. This is due in a large part due to Labour’s complete lack of organization in most rural areas. In Dublin, both Fine Gael and Labour incumbents made it through without much sweat. The race, as expected, was for the third seat between the Fianna Fáil incumbent (Eoin Ryan), Socialist leader Joe Higgins and the Sinn Féin incumbent (Mary Lou McDonald). Surprisingly, Sinn Féin was the first out leaving the final seat between Ryan and Higgins. In the end, Higgins got the quasi-entirety of McDonald’s transferable votes and defeated Ryan with 82,366 votes against 76,956 votes for Ryan on the 7th count. Former Greenie (against the party’s participation in government) Patricia McKenna won 4.3% on first preferences against 4.7% against the official Greenie (however, further transfers from joke candidates got McKenna all the way to count 5, while the Greenie got out by count 3). In the East, Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness got elected on the first count, quite the feat indeed. However, no luck for Fine Gael’s second candidate in holding the third seat held by a retiring Fine Gael incumbent. Labour’s Nessa Childers, second on first prefs, far outpolled John Paul Phelan (FG’s second candidate) and got the second seat. Fianna Fáil held its seat. In the North-West, all incumbents (1 Independent ALDE, 1 FF, 1 FG) held their seats with Marian Harkin (Ind-ALDE) topping the poll (however, both Fianna Fáil candidates combined outpolled him and Fine Gael’s MEP). The founder and leader of Libertas, Declan Ganley polled a respectable 13.66% on FPVs and held out till the last count but lost out to Fine Gael due to rather poor transfers from the other anti-Lisbon outfit, SF. In the South, FF incumbent Brian Crowley topped the poll and won easily, as did Sean Kelly (FG). The third seat was between the incumbent Independent (eurosceptic and social conservative) Kathy Sinnott and Labour’s Alan Kelly. Kelly won.

In the local elections, the final seat share is as follows:

Fine Gael 340 seats (+47)
Fianna Fáil 218 seats (-84)
Labour 132 seats (+31)
Others and Indies 132 seats (+40)
Sinn Féin 54 seats (nc)
Socialist 4 seats (nc)
Green Party 3 seats (-15)

Full breakdown by county and city


People of Freedom 35.26% winning 29 seats
Democratic Party 26.13% winning 21 seats
Lega Nord 10.20% winning 9 seats
Italy of Values 8.00% winning 7 seats
Union of the Centre 6.51% winning 5 seats
Communists (PRC+PdCI) 3.38% winning 0 seats
Sinistra e Libertà 3.12% winning 0 seats
Italian Radicals (Bonino-Pannella List) 2.42% winning 0 seats
Pole of Autonomy (La Destra+MPA) 2.22% winning 0 seats
South Tyrolean’s People Party 0.46% winning 1 seat
Berlusconi Coalition (PdL+LN+Autonomy) 47.68% winning 38 seats
PD Coalition (PD-SVP+IdV+Radicals) 37.01% winning 29 seats

Italy EU 2009

Red: PD, Blue: PdL, Green: Lega Nord, Yellow in Aosta Valley: Valdotanian Union (PdL ally), Yellow in Sudtirol: SVP (PD ally)

The Italian results were certainly a setback for Silvio Berlusconi and his “party”, the PdL, which performed a bit lower than what he and polls had expected (38-41% range). The centre-left PD did relatively well, and this will atleast keep the party from splitting up into the old Democrats of the Left and the Daisy. In terms of coalitions, the two large parliamentary blocs stand almost exactly where they stood overall in 2008, with a very very slight improvement for Berlusconi’s coalition. The marking result of this election is probably that of Lega Nord, which has won its best result in any national Italian election (narrowly beating its previous record, 10.1% in the 1996 general election). The Lega has expanded its support to the “south” (north-central Italy), notably polling 11% in Emilia-Romagna and 4% in Tuscany. The support and future of Lega Nord is to be watched closely in the future, due to a potential new electoral law which could significantly hinder it’s parliamentary representation (more on that later). The other good result is from Antonio di Pietro’s strongly anti-Berlusconi and anti-corruption populist Italia dei Valori, which has won its best result ever, by far. It has almost doubled its support since last year’s general election. After being shutout of Parliament in 2008, the Communists and other leftie parties (Socialists and Greens) are now out of the European Parliament, depsite improving quite a bit on the Rainbow’s 2008 result. Of the two coalitions, the old Communist one made up of the Refoundation Commies and the smaller Italian Commies polled slightly better than the Sinistra e libertà, the “New Left” coalition (Greenies, Socialists, moderate “liberal” Commies). Such was to be expected, but the irony is that both leftie coalitions were formed to surpass the new 4% threshold, and none did. However, if there had been a new Rainbow coalition (the 2008 Rainbow included both the hardline Commies and the New Left), they would have made it. As expected, those small parties which won seats in 2004 due to the old electoral law have been eliminated. These include the fascists, La Destra-Sicilian autonomists/crooks, and the Radicals. The South Tyrolean SVP only held its seat due to an electoral clause which allows these “minority parties” to ally with a party to win a seat. The SVP was the only one of these which was successful in doing so. Two smaller Valdotanian parties (one allied with PdL, the other with IdV) failed to win a seat. In provincial elections held the same days, the right was very successful and of the forty provinces decided by the first round, they had won 26 against 14 for the left. 22 provinces will have a runoff. I might do a post on that if I have time.


Civic Union 24.33% winning 2 seats (+2)
Harmony Centre 19.57% winning 2 seats (+2)
PCTVL – For Human Rights in United Latvia 9.66% winning 1 seat (nc)
Latvia’s First Party/Latvia’s Way 7.5% winning 1 seat (nc)
For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK 7.45% winning 1 seat (-3)
New Era 6.66% winning 1 seat (-1) 4.31%

Latvian politics are very confusing, mostly due to the huge swings. This time was no different. A new party, Civic Union (probably EPP) topped the poll over the Harmony Centre, a Russian minority outfit. The PCTVL, another Russian outfit, fell slightly compared to its 11% result in 2004, but remained remarkably stable. TB/LNNK, a UEN party which topped the poll in 2004 fell down three seats. The conservative New Era, senior party in the governing coalition, won only 7% (a lot of its members, along with TB/LNNK members apparently joined the Civic Union). The People’s Party, the senior party in the old coalition which fell apart this year due to the economic crisis won barely 2%. The Union of Greens and Farmers, which won something like 16% in the 2006 election polled a mere 3.7%.


Homeland Union-LKD 26.16% winning 4 seats (+2)
Lithuanian Social Democrats 18.12% winning 3 seats (+1)
Order and Justice 11.9% winning 2 seats (+1)
Labour Party 8.56% winning 1 seat (-4)
Poles’ Electoral Action 8.21% winning 1 seat (+1)
Liberals Movement 7.17% winning 1 seat (+1)
Liberal and Centre Union 3.38% winning 0 seats (-1)

Remarkable stability for a Baltic nation in Lithuania. The winner of the 2008 election, the Homeland Union (TS-LKD) won a rather convincing victory, improving on its 2008 result (only 19.6%) and obviously on its 2004 Euro result (12.6%). The LSDP has picked up an extra seat and has cemented its place as the opposition to the TS-LKD, along with the third-placed populist Order and Justice. Labour, the centrist party which won the 2004 Euro election has seen its seat share cut down from 5 to one, a logical follow-up to its collapse in 2008. The Poles have probably benefited from low turnout (21%) to motivate their base and won an outstanding 8.2% and elected one MEP. I don’t really follow Baltic politics, but if I remember correctly, a government rarely wins re-election, so if that’s true, the result of the TS-LKD is even more remarkable.


Christian Social Party 31.3% (-5.8%) winning 3 seats
Socialist 19.5% (-2.5%) winning 1 seat
Democratic Party 18.6% (+3.7%) winning 1 seat
The Greens 16.8% (+1.8%) winning 1 seat
Alternative Democratic Reform 7.4% (-0.6%)
The Left 3.4% (+1.7%)
Communist Party 1.5% (+0.3%)
Citizens’ List 1.4%

Remarkable and unsurprising political stability in Luxembourg, with no changes in seat distribution. While the CSV and LSAP suffer minor swings against them, the DP and Greens get small positive swings. The Greens’ result is their best ever and one of the best Green results in European elections.

On election night last week, I also covered the simultaneous general election. Here are, again, the full results.

CSV 38% (+1.9%) winning 26 seats (+2)
LSAP 21.6% (-1.8%) winning 13 seats (-1)
DP 15% (-1.1%) winning 9 seats (-1)
Greens 11.7% (+0.1%) winning 7 seats (nc)
ADR 8.1% (-1.8%) winning 4 seats (-1)
Left 3.3% (+1.4%) winning 1 seat (+1)
KPL 1.5% (+0.6%)
BL 0.8%


Labour 54.77% winning 3 seats (nc)
Nationalist 40.49% winning 2 seats (nc)

Obviously no surprise in tiny Malta, where the opposition Labour Party has defeated the governing Nationalist Party. Both sides made gains in terms of votes, feeding off the collapse of the green Democratic Alternative (AD), which won a remarkable 10% in 2004 but a mere 2.3% this year.


Civic Platform 44.43% (+20.33%) winning 25 seats (+10)
Law and Justice 27.4% (+14.73%) winning 15 seats (+8)
Democratic Left Alliance-Labour Union 12.34% (+2.99%) winning 7 seats (+2)
Peasant Party 7.07% (+0.67%) winning 3 seats (-1)

Poland EU 2009

Map by electoral constituency. Key same as above table

Polish politics move quickly, but it seems that this ‘setup’ is here to stay, atleast for some time. The governing right-liberal pro-European Civic Platform (led by PM Donald Tusk) has won a crushing victory over the national-conservative eurosceptic Law and Justice of President Lech Kaczyński. PO’s margin of victory is slightly larger than its already important victory in the 2008 elections. The SLD-UP electoral alliance, which is what remains of the Left and Democrats (LiD) coalition of the 2008 election (encompassing SLD-UP but also a small fake liberal party), won 12%, the average result of the Polish left these days. The Peasant Party, PO’s junior partner in government, won slightly fewer votes than in 2008 (or the 2004 Eur0s). The 2004 Euros, marked by the excellent result of the ultra-conservative League of Polish Families (LPR, now Libertas) and the left-wing populist Samoobrona saw both of these parties collapse. Libertas-LPR won 1.14% and Samoobrona won 1.46%. Smaller ultra-conservative jokes also did very poorly. After the 2004-2006 episode, sanity seems to have returned to Polish politics.


Social Democratic Party 31.7% winning 8 seats (+1)
Socialist Party 26.6% winning 7 seats (-5)
Left Bloc 10.7% winning 3 seats (+2)
CDU: Communist Party-Greens 10.7% winning 2 seats (nc)
Democratic and Social Centre-People’s Party 8.4% winning 2 seats (nc)

Portugal EU 2009

Blue: PSD, Red: PS, Green: CDU (PCP-PEV)

Cold shower for the governing Portuguese Socialists after the huge victory of the 2004 Euros. The centre-right PSD has won a major victory by defeating the PS, albeit a relatively small margin between the two. The lost votes of the PS flowed to the Left Bloc (the Trotskyst and more libertarian component of the far-left) and the CDU (the older and more old-style communist component of the far-left), both of which won a remarkable 21.4% together. These voters voted BE or CDU due to the PS’ economic policies, which are far from traditional left-wing economic policies. The PS will need to fight hard, very hard, to win the upcoming general elections in September.


Social Democratic Party+Conservative Party 31.07% winning 11 seats (+1)
Democratic Liberal Party 29.71% winning 10 seats (-6)
National Liberal Party 14.52% winning 5 seats (-1)
UDMR 8.92% winning 3 seats (+1)
Greater Romania Party 8.65% winning 3 seats (+3)
Elena Băsescu (Ind PD-L) 4.22% winning 1 seat (+1)

Romania EU 2009

The close race in Romania between the two government parties ended in the victory of the junior partner, the PSD with a rather mediocre 31%. The PDL’s 30% was also rather mediocre. The PNL also did quite poorly. The two winners are the Hungarian UDMR, which won a rather remarkable 9%, probably benefiting from high Hungarian turnout in a very low turnout election. The far-right Greater Romania Party overcame past setbacks and won three seats and a surprisingly good 8.7%. This is due in part to the participation of the far-right quasi-fascist PNG-CD  on its list (the party’s leader, the very controversial Gigi Becali, was the party’s second candidate on the list). László Tőkés, an Hungarian independent elected in 2007 (sat in the Green-EFA group) has been re-elected as the top candidate on the UDMR list.


Smer-SD 32.01% winning 5 seats (+2)
Slovak Democratic and Christian Union–Democratic Party (SDKÚ-DS) 16.98% winning 2 seats (-1)
Party of the Hungarian Coalition 11.33% winning 2 seats (±0)
Christian Democratic Movement 10.87% winning 2 seats (-1)
People’s Party–Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (ĽS-HZDS) 8.97% winning 1 seat (-2)
Slovak National Party 5.55% winning 1 seat (+1)

Smer’s result is definitely deceiving for them and possibly a sign that their past stellar poll ratings will slide to the benefit of the opposition SDKÚ-DS. However, the SDKÚ-DS (but also the KDH and obviously the ĽS-HZDS) have slid back compared to their 2004 Euro results. While the collapse of the ĽS-HZDS (formerly led by former quasi-dictator Vladimír Mečiar) is good news, the entry of the quasi-fascist Slovak National Party, Smer’s charming coalition partners, is not. However, the SNS’ 5.6% is not the 10% it used to poll and hopefully they stay low.


Slovenian Democratic Party 26.89% winning 2 seats (nc)
Social Democrats 18.48% winning 2 seats (+1)
New Slovenia 16.34% winning 1 seat (-1)
Liberal Democracy 11.52% winning 1 seat (-1)
Zares 9.81% winning 1 seat (+1)
DeSUS 7.19%

In Slovenia, the oppostion centre-right SDS has defeated the ruling Social Democrats. Here again, the current political setup between SDS on the right and SD on the left, a rather new setup, seems set to stay for a few years. The NSi, which won the 2004 election, and the LDS, which used to dominate Slovenian politics, have both slumped back. The new liberal Zares won 9.8%, roughly its level in the 2008 election.


People’s Party42.23% (+1.02%) winning 23 seats (-1)
Socialist 38.51% (-4.95%) winning 21 seats (-4)
Coalition for Europe (EAJ-CiU-CC) 5.12% (-0.03%) winning 2 seats [1 EAJ, 1 CiU] (±0)
The Left 3.73% (-0.38%) winning 2 seats (±0)
Union, Progress and Democracy 2.87% winning 1 seat (+1)
Europe of Peoples 2.5% (+0.05%) winning 1 seat (±0)

Spain EU 2009

As expected, the conservative PP defeated the governing PSOE, but due to the polarized nature of Spanish politics, no landslide here. However, the PSOE definitely polled poorly, though the PP didn’t do that great either. The regionalists held their ground well, and CiU got some little gains going in Catalonia. Aside from UPyD’s narrow entry and the obvious PP gains, it was generally status-quo.


Social Democrats 24.41% (-0.15%) winning 5 seats (nc)
Moderate Party 18.83% (+0.58%) winning 4 seats (nc)
Liberal People’s Party 13.58% (+3.72%) winning 3 seats (+1)
Greens 11.02% (+5.06%) winning 2 seats (+1)
Pirate Party 7.13% (new) winning 1 seat (+1)
Left 5.66% (-7.14%) winning 1 seat (-1)
Centre 5.47% (-0.79%) winning 1 seat (nc)
Christian Democrats 4.68% (-1.01%) winning 1 seat (nc)
June List 3.55% (-10.92%) winning 0 seats (-3)
Sweden Democrats 3.27% (+2.14%)
Feminist Initiative 2.22%

Sweden EU 2009

First map: Parties (SD in red, M in blue) – Second Map: Coalitions (Red-Green in red, Alliance in blue)

The Swedish results must come as a major deception for both major parties, the Social Democrats and the governing Moderates. Both had done horribly in 2004 and the 2009 results are no improvements for either of them. In fact, the opposition SD has in fact dropped a few votes more from the 2004 disaster. These loses profit to the smaller parties in their respective coalitions (Red-Green for the SD, Alliance for M). The Liberals did very well, unexpectedly well in fact, and elected a third MEP. The Greens drew votes from Red-Green voters dissatisfied by the unpopular SD leader, Mona Sahlin, and its vote share increased by 5%. Of course, Sweden is now famous for electing one Pirate MEP, and even a second MEP if Sweden gets additional MEPs as planned by the Treaty of Lisbon. The Left’s vote fell significantly from its good showing in 2004, while the vote for smaller coalition parties – the Centre and Christian Democrats also slid a bit. The eurosceptic June List, which had won 14% in 2004, fell to a mere 3.6% and lost its 3 MEPs. However, this result might have prevented the far-right Sweden Democrats from picking up a seat. The Feminists, who had one MEP after a Liberal defection, won a surprisingly decent 2%, far better than what polls had in store for them. In terms of coalitions, the governing Alliance actually won with 42.56% against 41.09% for the opposition Red-Greens.

Longer, special posts concerning the Euro elections in Belgium, France and the UK will be posted in the coming days.

English and Irish Locals 2009

A number of countries vote today in the Euros, though many more vote tomorrow. Only the Dutch have taken the risk to publish Euro results before they were technically allowed to, while the Brits and Irish who voted before-yesterday and yesterday respectively have not published their Euro results (they will do so tommorrow, when all 26 other countries do so).

However, local elections were held in England and Ireland (where there were also two by-elections).

England Locals

The Conservatives have won a landslide in the local elections (27 county councils, 3 old unitary authorities, 5 new unitary authorities, and 3 directly-elected Mayors). According to the BBC, the figures for seats and councillors for all these authorities (except the Isles of Scilly, where all are Indies) are the following:

Conservative 1,476 councillors (+233) winning 30 councils (+7)
Liberal Democrats 473 councillors (-4) winning 1 council (-1)
Labour 176 councillors (-273) winning 0 councils (-4)
Independents 95 councillors (+6)
Green 16 councillors (+6)
Residents Associations 9 councillors (+2)
UKIP 6 councillors (+6)
Mebyon Kernow 3 councillors (±0)
BNP 3 councillors (+3)
Liberal 2 councillors (±0)
Others 28 councillors (+13)
No Overall Control winning 3 councils (-2)

The BBC has done a “projected PV share” estimate, which is quite worthless (anybody applying it to a general election is a useless tool) and probably very flawed. The Tories would have 38% (44 in 2008), the LibDems 28% (25 in 2008), and Labour 23% (24 in 2008). However, do note that the 2008 figure is based on entirely different councils, so the 2005 estimate is a much better comparison. The 2005 result is not available.

Anyways, Labour has suffered a very humiliating defeat. What is most striking is Labour’s total rout in some of its strongholds. In Lancashire, Labour fell from 44 seats in 2005 to 16 today (the Conservatives gained 18, the LibDems also gained 6). In Staffordshire, a Labour-held council, Labour is now the fourth party. It fell from 32 seats in 2005 to just 3 today (the Conservatives have gained the council with 49 seats, the LibDems and UKIP have four each). Other Labour council loses are Derbyshire (-16 seats for Labour), Nottinghamshire (-22).

The Liberal Democrats have picked up Bristol from NOC (they were the largest party before though). However, they have performed very poorly in Cornwall (where they hold all 5 – or 6 on new boundaries – seats in Westminster). They controlled the old Cornwall County Council, and today the Conservatives are by far the largest party with 50 seats (38 LibDem, 32 Indies and 3 Mebyon Kernow – a party which wants a devolved assembly and greater self-governance for Cornwall). This is certainly a bad sign for the LibDem incumbents in Westminster.

The other NOC councils are Cumbria (38 Con [+6], 24 Lab [-16], 16 LDs [+6], 5 Ind [+2], 1 Other [+1]) and Bedford, a new unitary authority (13 LDs, 9 Con, 7 Ind, 7 Lab).

This does not smell good for Labour in the Euros, and the UKIP and BNP’s local gains do smell good for them tomorrow.

On a negative note for all (although that may end up a positive note for certain parties), turnout was at joke levels. Around 20% for the Euros (the UK had a decent turnout by British standards for the 2004 Euros – 38%), which is close to 1999 levels (23%). In the locals, turnout was 30% (low turnout in locals is not a surprise or an abnormality in British electoral life). In Glasgow, turnout was 7% (yes, 93% did not vote).

In Northern Ireland, rumours have it that Sinn Féin has topped the poll (an excellent result for them which I did not see coming) due to a strong performance by incumbent “Traditionalist Unionist” MEP Jim Allister against his old Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). It seems that Sinn Féin’s Bairbre de Brún has made the quota by first count, while the DUP gets the second seat but without reaching the quota. The third seat is a thing to watch between the Conservative and Unionist (Conservative + Ulster Unionist [UUP]) MEP Jim Nicholson, the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) candidate Alban Macginness and Allister. These, however, are just rumours.

Ireland Locals and By-Elections

Ireland also voted in local elections (counties, county borough, city and town councils) and two by-elections for the the Irish lower house, the Dáil. Again, the government has suffered a humiliating defeat by the looks of the exit polls.

The local elections exit poll from RTÉ.

Fine Gael 34% (+6.5%)
Fianna Fáil 24% (-8%)
Labour 17% (+5.5%)
Sinn Féin 9% (+1%)
Green Party 3% (-1%)
Indies 13%

The current standings (190 seats out of 883)

Fine Gael 72 seats
Labour 46 seats
Fianna Fáil 30 seats
Others and Indies 29 seats
Sinn Féin 13 seats

In the Dáil by-elections, the counts are almost over.

Dublin South (Quota: 26,019)

George Lee (Fine Gael) 53.4% (+26.1% on 2007) / 27,768 votes
Alex White (Labour) 19.8% (+9.4%)
Shay Brennan (Fianna Fáil) 17.8% (-23.6%)
Elizabeth Davidson (Green) 3.5% (-7.5%)
Shaun Tracey (Sinn Féin) 3.3% (+0.3%)
Ross O’Mullane (Ind) 1.2%
Frank O’Gorman (Ind) 0.7%
Noel O’Gara (Ind) 0.3%
Fine Gael GAIN from Fianna Fáil

Dublin Central, Count One (Quota: 14,207)

Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind Gregoryite) 26.9% (+13.5% on Gregory 2007) / 7,639 votes
Paschal Donoghue (Fine Gael) 22.7% (+13.1%)
Ivana Bacik (Labour) 17.3% (+4.8%)
Christy Burke (Sinn Féin) 13.3% (+4.1%)
Maurice Ahern (Fianna Fáil) 12.3% (-32.2%)
David Geary (Green) 2.9% (-2.9%)
Patrick Talbot (Immigration Control) 2.2% (+1.5%)
Malachy Steenson (Workers’ Party) 1.8%
Paul O’Loughlin (Christian Solidarity) 0.7% (-0.04%)

On count 8, O’Sullivan has won without a quota. She has 13,739 votes against 10,198 for Donoghue. Therefore: Independent HOLD.

These results are a very bad result for Fianna Fáil, and this should be confirmed by the Euro counts. Talking about the Euros, RTÉ does have an exit poll out:

Fine Gael 30% (+2.2%)
Fianna Fáil 23% (-6.5%)
Labour 16% (+5.5%)
Sinn Féin 12% (+0.9%)
Libertas 4% (new)
Socialist 3% (+1.5%)
Green Party 2% (-2.3%)
Indies 10%

The rumours say that Declan Ganley has performed quite well in North West. In the East, FG and Labour seem assured a seat each though the third seat is close between Aylward (FF) and Phelan (FG). Fine Gael will be hoping that Phelan wins to prevent an explanation of why they lost a seat there. In the South, Crowley (FF) and Seán Kelly (FG) are assured re-election and the third seat is too close to call. In Dublin, Mitchell (FG) and deRossa (Lab) are safe while the third seat is up in the air between SF, FF and the Socialist leader Jim Higgins.

Turnout in the locals is 55% – turnout in the 2004 Euros was 59%

Related to tommorrow’s big day, I hope to be able to live blog results if possible.

Europe 2009: Netherlands

The Netherlands, which has 25 MEPs (down from 27) voted today, the first country, along with the United Kingdom, to vote in these European elections.

The Netherland, which you probably know for it’s legal drugs, prostitution, gay marriage and the like, has a number of political parties. The two main parties, currently coalition partners (along with a smaller party) are the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and Labour (PvdA). The CDA is a modern slightly conservative Christian democratic party, with strongest support from Catholics (26-31% of the population) in Southern Brabant and Limburg. Labour has become a party very similar to the New Labour in the United Kingdom and is based in the Dutch working class, in cities, and the northeastern provinces of Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe.

The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, most commonly known as VVD, is a centre-right strongly neo-liberal party that is generally more conservative-leaning on social issues. While the current VVD leader, Mark Rutte, is a social liberal, the VVD has a strongly anti-immigration conservative-populist wing (though that wing often splits off into splinter parties).

The GreenLeft (GroenLinks) is the main green party, which is “left-green” party – very socially liberal, youth-oriented, pro-immigration, anti-nuclear and so forth. The GroenLinks are especially strong in large university towns and in the homosexual community. The Socialist Party (SP) was founded as a Marxist party, though it has become a democratic-socialist party attracting a number of left-wing voters who used to support the PvdA when the PvdA was more left-wing.

The Netherlands have two Protestant “testimonial” parties – the ChristianUnion and the Reformed Political Party (SGP). The ChristianUnion is socially conservative, though it has more left-wing economic, immigration/international aid and environmental policies. ChristianUnion is a member of the current government. The SGP is probably one of the craziest party in the world – though its legislators are not raving lunatics and are quite sane in debates apparently. The SGP is radically pro-life, against television-radio, gambling, vaccinations, women’s suffrage (women and men are of equal value, but not equal. Women membership was forbidden until 2006), freedom of religion, pro-death penalty and closes its website on Sundays. The SGP also supports a theocracy, and therefore rejects any participation in any government.

In radical opposition to the SGP you have Democrats 66 (D66), an economically centrist and socially liberal/libertarian party, which is also strongly “green” and pro-Europe (favouring a federal Europe). D66 has a very volatile young (female and well-educated) electorate, with lows at 1% and highs at 14-15%.

The new force in Dutch politics is the Party for Freedom (PVV) founded by VVD populist Geert Wilders. Wilders and the PVV are known for their radically anti-Islam policies, they support a halt of immigration from non-western countries and are very assimilationist. It is economically liberal (tax cuts, no minimum wage, limiting child benefits). Wilders seems to be the heir to the heritage of the late Pim Fortuyn, an anti-immigration (although socially liberal) politician whose paty (LPF) had a rapid rise (and fall, following his assasination). However, Wilders is much more radical than Fortuyn.

Lastly, the Party for the Animals (PvdD), an animal rights party, has two seats in the Lower House. The PvdD is the only animal rights party in the world with parliamentary representation.

The results of the last 2004 Euro election was:

CDA 24.43% (-2.51%) winning 7 seats (-2)
Labour 23.60% (+3.48%) winning 7 seats (+1)
VVD 13.20% (-6.49%) winning 4 seats (-2)
GroenLinks 7.39% (-4.46%) winning 2 seats (-2)
Europe Transparent 7.33% winning 2 seats
Socialist 6.97% (+1.93%) winning 2 seats (+1)
ChristianUnion/SGP 5.87% (-2.86%) winning 2 seats (-1)
D66 4.25% (-1.55%) winning 1 seat (-1)
Party for the Animals 3.22%

The Netherlands has already released progressive count results and as of now, the results are as follows:

CDA 20% winning 5 seats (-2)
PVV 16.9% winning 5 seats
Labour 12.2% winning 3 seats (-4)
D66 11.3% winning 3 seats (+2)
VVD 11.3% winning 3 seats (-1)
GroenLinks 8.8% winning 2 seats (nc)
Socialist 7.1% winning 2 seats (nc)
ChristianUnion/SGP 7% winning 2 seats (nc)
Party for the Animals 3.5%

Turnout is stable at 40% (39.26% in 2004).

A great night for the PVV, an horrible night for the governing parties (CDA and PvdA, less so for CU). The Socialists have also fallen about 10% since they won a surprising 16% in the 2006 elections. And the D66 is now in an upswing period, after years of near death (which come when D66 joins government coalitions).

For fun, results in Amsterdam:

Amsterdam: D66 21.2%, GL 20%, Labour 14.7%, PVV 12.7%, VVD 9.2%, SP 8%, Animals 5.3%, CDA 4.9%

This is the first post in a very, very long and slow series on the European election results. And this is probably not the last you hear of the Netherlands.

Europe 2009: Spain

Spain will elect its 50 MEPs to the European Parliament on June 7, 2009. This is Spain’s seventh European election and sixth regular election (Spain voted in a by-election in 1987 after it joined the EU in 1986). Spain has lost 4 seats since 2004, and it had lost 10 seats prior to the 2004 election.

Spanish politics are very polarized. The governing party is the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), or the Socialist Party, which is led by current Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero; and the Popular Party (PP), the main conservative party and ancestor of old right-wing Franquist groups, led by Mariano Rajoy. Spain’s Communist Party (PCE) is the largest party in the old United Left (IU) coalition. The IU (and by consequence the PCE) has gone down the road of rapid decline common to most Communist Parties in Western Europe since the fall of the Wall. The PSOE, PP and IU are the three-major nationwide parties, though the new Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD), a socially liberal though strongly anti-federalist and anti-nationalist party has a seat in the Spanish lower house and seems to be posting some important gains.

Spain is also famous for its Basque and Catalan nationalists, though there also exists similar nationalist movements in other regions such as Galicia or the Canary Islands. The main Catalan nationalist party is known as Convergence and Union (CiU), in fact a coalition of liberal and conservative nationalist parties.  However, the CiU has an ambiguous position on independence, and attracts nationalists but also autonomists. The left-wing Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) is clearly pro-independence. In the Basque Country, the main nationalist party remains the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV), which is centre-right. However, smaller left-wing nationalist parties also exist, such as Basque Solidarity (EA), Aralar, or the various names adopted by the ETA’s political branch, Batasuna. One of those names is Euskal Herritarrok (EH) or the Communist Party of the Basque Homeland. However, these recent fronts have been banned by the Spanish government.

The last Euro election in June 2004 was held shortly after Zapatero’s PSOE defeated the governing PP after the May 12, 2004 Madrid train bombings. Zapatero went on to win re-election in 2008.

PSOE (PES) 43.46% winning 25 seats (+1)
PP (EPP) 41.21% winning 24 seats (-3)
Galeusca Coalition 5.15% winning 2 seats (-3)
United Left 4.72% winning 2 seats (-2)
Europe of Peoples Coalition 2.45% winning 1 seat (-1)
European Coalition 1.27% winning 0 seats (-2)

EH won one seat in 1999, but did not run in 2004. The Galeusca coalition was composed of the CiU, the Basque EAJ and the Galician BNG. The Europe of Peoples coalition was the left-wing (more radical) alliance composed of the ERC, the Basque EA and smaller parties from other regions. The European Coalition was composed of the Canarian CC and smaller parties from other regions. This elections, the new nat coalitions are CEU, Coalición por Europa, which is the new alliance formed between the 2004 Galeusca-Pueblos de Europa and Coalición Europea. This is the right-wing alliance of nats (Basque EAJ, Catalonian CiU from Galeusca + CC, minor Valencian, Majorcan, and Andalusian nats from CE). The Galician BNG, which was part of Galeusca (thus the Gal) in 2004 is now in the left-wing alliance of nats, Europa de los Pueblos (EdP) which includes the tiny Spanish Greenies. EdP includes the Catolonian ERC, BNG, the leftie Basque nats (Aralar and EA), and smaller nats from Majorca and Aragon.

Spain is currently one the EU members worst hit by the economic crisis – Latvia being the other major victim in the EU. Spanish unemployment is around 17.4%, the highest in the European Union. The most pessimists say that it could very well hit 20% by the end of 2009. You would normally expect a government governing one of the worst economic situations in Europe (and the world) and presiding over nearly 20% unemployment to be in awful shape in polls. However, due to the polarized nature of Spanish politics, you have a relatively close political makeup. The PP is between 40 and 42% in polls, the PSOE is between 38 and 42%. The reason the PP can’t take off is because the legacy of el caudillo, Francisco Franco, still polarizes Spanish opinion. A number of conservatives (whose family opposed Franco) would never bring themselves to vote for the PP, which has Franquist roots (though the party itself doesn’t play on those). At the same time, people would never vote for the evil communist-socialist PSOE. In addition, the PP and PSOE’s electorates are pretty rock-solid and they show relatively little movement once solidly in place.

In terms of polling for minor parties, the CEU will likely hold Galeusca’s two seats (one CiU, one EAJ) and EdP will do likewise (one ERC). The IU’s seat predictions are really fluctuating between a loss of one or no net gains (2 seats or 1). The UPyD is given one seat by a vast majority of pollsters.

The top candidates for the major parties are Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Minister of Justice until 2007 for the PSOE; Jaime Mayor Oreja, a Basque deputy and former rabidly anti-nationalist Minister of Interior for the PP; Ramon Tremose of the CiU for CEU; Oriol Junqueras of the ERC for EdP; Willy Meyer, an MEP, for IU; and Francisco Sosa Wagner for UPyD. Libertas’ Spanish outfit is the Catalan Citizens, a liberal anti-nationalist (kind of like UPyD) in Catalonia.


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