European Elections : Less abstention, more populism?

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Series Details November 2013
Publication Date 14/11/2013
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The European elections of May 2014 are already arousing concern in connection with low voter turnout and the good results of "populist" parties. Yves Bertoncini puts in perspective these two political challenges while urging to face them, in a Tribune directly inspired from his speech at a conference organised on the 15th of October in Paris by the "Young Europeans" of Sciences Po.

Yves Bertoncini first underlines that it is normal to state a limited turn out rate at "subsidiary" elections, even if this rate could be higher in 2014 than in 2009, given the new institutional and political context. It is not only because the next President of the Commission is to be appointed in connection with the results of the European Elections that the citizens could vote more, but also and above all because many debates at the national level have been structured by political issues in the recent period.

Yves Bertoncini also indicates that an electoral upswing of the "populist" parties should be stated next Spring, as a logical consequence of economic, social and political crises that both extend beyond the EU and are beyond its ability to remedy. But he adds that this populist thrust should have a limited impact on the European Parliament, where political forces' influence should be gauged on the basis of the number of seats won, of course, but also of their internal cohesion as well as of their ability to forge majority coalitions with other parties. Given the fact that populist parties tend to be structurally weak when considering the two latter criteria, their numerical upswing is unlikely to disrupt the functioning of the European Parliament, beyond the increasing presence of discordant voices in the Strasbourg assembly.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: European Parliament: Election, May 2014
Notre Europe: The impact of the populist parties in the next European Parliament, February 2014

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