Europe held parliamentary elections yesterday. Except in Spain, they didn’t go well for the ruling parties. Why? I don’t know, but the most plausible explanation is probably that those ruling parties that have been in power for more than a few months are not popular, perhaps because Europe isn’t doing very well economically.
It turns out that I’m half right, according to AP. In countries such as Germany and France, where the ruling parties opposed U.S. intervention in Iraq, the results were clearly a response to local conditions. But in countries like England and Italy, where the ruling parties supported our actions, the results constitute a repudiation of complicty with America. As AP puts it, “European voters punished leaders in Britain, Italy and the Netherlands for getting involved in Iraq – but also turned their ire on the war’s chief opponents German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac over local issues, projections showed Sunday.”
Hat tip to Arthur Chrenkoff who points out that, in England, the big winners Sunday were the pro-war Conservative party and the Euro-skeptic UK Independence party, not the anti-war Liberal Democrats. He also notes that one of the new Euro-parliamentarians will be Robert Kilroy-Silk, the former TV personality who created some controversy by describing Arabs in his newspaper column as “suicide bombers, limb amputators, women repressors” and murderers of “3,000 civilians on September 11” who “danced in the hot, dusty streets to celebrate.”
Overall, says Chrenkoff, “the election is a victory for European centre-right.” But he adds the important caveat that “being on the right of politics in Europe guarantees neither commitment to a sensible foreign policy nor support for free market principles. Just remember that Jacques Chirac is on the ‘right’ in France.”


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