As election results for European Parliament across the continent showed a popular disgust for elite parties and the economic status quo, in Greece it was the leftwing Syriza Party that best exhibited political victory for those pushing a progressive anti-austerity agenda in Europe.
“This is a historic win,” declared Syriza’s youthful leader Alexis Tsipras to a crowd of enthusiastic supporters in Athens early on Monday. “Today, the whole of Europe is talking about Greece because it condemned austerity.”
As Helena Smith reports for The Guardian:
In addition to a notable win by Sinn Fein in Ireland, which also embraces a left critique of EU-imposed austerity, the broader election results in Europe suggest that anti-austerity and anti-elite sentiment has also created political opportunity for the continent’s far-right parties who exploit the economic pains many are feeling to push their anti-immigrant and nationalist agendas.
This was true in Greece, where even as Syriza soared in the polls, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party also secured ten percent of the EU parliament vote. That is enough to send three MEPs to represent the country in Brussels, even as most of the party’s leadership remains in prison on charges of political violence and conspiracy.
And as CNN reports, the rise of ultra-right parties is taking place in numerous other countries as well:
Across Europe, what are called the ‘Euroskeptic’ parties—who mistrust the dominant role of the European Parliament and the experiment of the EU itself—have now gained the ability to form a sizeable coalition.
As Deutsche Welle reports, the European Parliament, though still likely controlled by the center-right coalition, will now have more than 130 euro-skeptic representatives:
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