Three elections in Europe

One might think that the most serious economic crisis in the history of global capitalism would severely dent the fortunes of the most pro-capitalist political parties in free market nations, but recent elections do not offer any such solace for social democrats like me. This weekend, there were elections in Germany, Austria and Portugal and there was little good news for social democrats.
In Germany, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) suffered its worst result for 60 years. It secured only 23.1% – a drop of more than 11% since the last election. Initial election results revealed that the Christian Democrats (CDU) and their sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have secured 33.8% of the vote, with the Free Democrats (FDP) taking 14.5%, giving the parties 323 seats in the Bundestag.
Meanwhile, in Austria, support for the far-Right Freedom Party nearly doubled to 16% in a provincial election, while the centre-left won only 14% of the vote and suffered its worst result since the Second World War. In fact, since the Social Democrat Party scraped into power in a national election a year ago, it has lost every regional and labour council vote.
Only in Portugal was there good news. The centre-left Socialist Party hung on to power, despite 9% unemployment, the country’s highest for 20 years. The Socialists won 36.5% of the vote, against 29% for the centre-right Social Democrats, the main opposition.


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