Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Global Elections in 2015: Stress for EU and Change in Direction in Latin America

European elections in 2015 signaled more stress in a governing system that has allowed two pro-EU parties – center-right and center-left – to dominate politics. Many of the surging fringe parties are strongly anti-EU.

The Greek parliamentary election of Alexis Tsipras as prime minister in January was reaffirmed in September with a second vote, putting the anti-EU leftwing Syriza Party strongly in charge.

On the Iberian Peninsula, in both Portugal’s and Spain’s parliamentary elections, the center-right ruling parties lost their majorities. The countries are struggling to find a new governing majority, and in both, a competitive left coalition has strong anti-EU and anti-austerity elements. Separatists won a narrow plurality in Catalonia, but the path of success is strewn with political and legal obstacles.

In Turkey, the autocratic President Erdoğan restored a parliamentary majority after losing it earlier in the year, but his rule and his country are racked with Kurdish separatists, ISIS terrorism, waves of refugees, and hostile secularists. Turkey is a NATO member and wants to join the EU.

But in Latin America, democracy and liberal capitalism won a presidency in Argentina and a parliamentary election in Venezuela. But in both countries, the new direction is being resisted with all the force of the reactionary left.

After a decade of dour conservative rule, Canada opted for a Gen X moderate liberal who seems most determined to legalize marijuana as a starting initiative.

Y Para Siempre (And Forever)
National Assembly employees remove photos
of late President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Jan. 6, 2016
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

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