13 thoughts on “European elections

  1. “…. on the eve of Thursday’s elections for the European Parliament and 34 local councils in England…”

    Why (only) 34? Surely there’s more than that?

  2. Once we’ve laid down the law for California we could have a lot of fun with international assemblies. The AU and USAN are planning their own equivalents of the European parliament and given that North America is already fairly closely to economic union there should prolly also be an UNAN parliament.

  3. In the EP, there is no lasting predictable majority/opposition-divide. This is its major weakness and its major strength:
    * the weakness is, you cannot transplant explanatory schemes from national (adversarial) politics to EP (consensus) politics; so it is hard for the media to explain in simple words what’s going on; low media coverage is one of the reasons for the low turnout.
    * the strength is, individual MPs (‘MEPs’) can make the difference.

  4. @Tom Round: For whatever reason, the UK has a system with rotating local elections. A short introduction on Wikipedia.

    Sweden: The two big questions seem to be 1. Will the “Pirate Party” make it to the EP, 2. Will the Conservatives or the Social Democrats be the largest party. Turn-out in Sweden will probably be under 40%.

    Denmark: No really big issues in the campaign. The Social Democrats look a bit shaky though and have proposed reintroducing border controls in the last days of the campaign.

    The election is the same day as the referendum on the Act of Succession and there is some excitement here as the act needs the support of 40% of all voters to pass.

  5. I actually looked it up earlier, because I was curious myself. Basically, they will change the rules to say that the next person in line will take the throne, regardless of gender. The current rule in Denmark, under which Queen Margrethe II took the throne, says that a female heir can inherit the throne only if a male heir isn’t there.

  6. Gordon Brown proposed the same thing for the British succession law and deleting the ban on Catholics. That will take request and consent legislation from the parliament of every Commonwealth monarchy before it can be enacted. It would seem, on the other hand, that a Gordon Brown proposal may not have a very long shelf life.

    Australia, uniquely in the rather ramshackle Commonwealth monarchy, can probably amend the succession law unilaterally. There was a brief push by an opposition leader in the 1980s to change the succession to create a local branch of the house of Windsor. There was also a certain amount of quixotic enthusiasm for acquiring the house of Slesvig-Holsten-Sønderborg-Glücksborg when an Australian married the crown prince of Denmark.

  7. In Spain, elections will take place on Sunday. According to most of the pre-electoral surveys, the non-governing PP (People’s Party) is going to defeat the incumbent PSOE (Socialist Party) by a small margin of vote (2 or 3 points). Hence, this could be the second time that the PSOE loses an election since Rodriguez-Zapatero became the PM in 2004 (the PP also won the 2007 local elections). The same surveys I have just mentioned tell us that each of the two big parties are going to win above 40 percent of the vote (minor parties are supposed to repeat more or less the same results than 5 years ago).
    The campaign has focused on national issues. A very low turnout rate (40-45%) is also expected due to (among others) the scarce media coverage of the event. The turnout rate, the economic crisis and the erosion of the support of the Socialist Party after 5 years in government are commonly listed as the main factors that could explain the PP’s victory.

  8. Well, that’s one thing Denmark and Australia have in common: you can’t be monarch of either country if you’re an Australian citizen.

  9. Queen Elizabeth is the queen of each Commonwealth realm independent of the others, and each and every realm has the power to amend the succession law that applies to its monarch. There is of course a preference for uniform rules of succession among the Commonwealth realms, so it’s unlikely that any one realm will go it alone with a new law.

    On an entirely different note, do you suppose that the existence of supra-national PR elections in England makes it more likely that the UK will eventually switch away from FPTP? Should we hope that an (unlikely) future North American parliament would start the US and Canada on the road to PR?

  10. @Vasi It depends on the extent to which and the terms in which the legislative power of the UK parliament was terminated and the transitional provisions made by ‘imperial’ act, the Commonwealth realm’s constitution, and certain other acts. Canada, for instance, entrenches everything to do with the monarchy by constitutional provision. Australia has a much looser arrangement where the monarchy, but none of its details, are entrenched and the Australia Act, a separate instrument from the constitution that was passed in the same form by the federal, state and British parliaments, would seem to vest the federal parliament with power to amend the succession as it applies in Australia.

    The Statute of Westminster and the declarations of a string of Imperial Conferences laid down that the Act of Settlement (Imp) would not be amended except on the request and consent of the Commonwealth realms. The principle was followed in 1936 when the Commonwealth realms were asked to pass legislation confirming the abdication.

    Austraia would certainly consent to equal primogeniture and an end to the Catholic ban. More seriously, the only feasible heir and successor to the house of Windsor is a future president of the republic.

  11. Preliminary results for the European Parliament election in the Netherlands are already in – much to the displeasure of EU officials, as they were not supposed to be published until Sunday evening – and the big winner is the right-wing populist Party for Freedom (PVV), which arrived second, just behind the Christian Democrats (CDA), the senior partner in the Dutch coalition government.

    Amsterdam newsdaily De Telegraaf has detailed results in Dutch here.

  12. Another way of looking at the diversity of the EU:
    21 MEPs from regionalist and minority parties:
    1 N-VA (Flanders, EPP)
    3 DPS (Turkish-speaking Bulgarians, ALDE)
    1 SFP (Swedish-sepaking Finns, ALDE)
    1 SVP (Südtirol, German-speaking Italians, EPP)
    2 SC (Russian-speaking Latvians)
    1 LLRA (Polish-speaking Lithuanians)
    3 UDMR / László T?kés) (Hungarian-speaking Romanians, EPP / Green-EFA)
    2 SMK (Hungarian-speaking Slovaks, EPP)
    1 CiU (Catalonia, ALDE)
    1 EAJ-PNV (Euskadi, ALDE)
    1 ERC (Catalonia, Green-EFA)
    2 SNP (Scotland, Green-EFA)
    1 PC (Wales, Green-EFA)
    1 Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland, EUL-NGL)

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