World View: Europe Has 'Political Earthquake' as Anti-EU Parties Surge in Elections

This morning's key headlines from

  • Europe has 'political earthquake' as anti-EU parties surge in elections
  • 'Chocolate King' wins presidential election in Ukraine
  • Pope Francis to try his hand at a Mideast 'peace process'

Europe has 'political earthquake' as anti-EU parties surge in elections

France's president, François Hollande, referred to Sunday's European Parliament election as a "political earthquake," as mainstream parties across Europe, including Hollande's own Socialist party, suffered calamitous defeat. Although each country is different, the generalization is that the parties that did better than expected favor strong controls on immigration and advocate leaving the euro currency or the European Union entirely. 

A big factor in all the elections was the euro crisis, which had not yet occurred at the time of the last European Parliament elections in 2009. Countries like France and Greece chafe at the austerity measures being forced on them, while countries like Germany dislike having to bail out the other countries. 

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far right Front Nationale party, (the phrase "far right" has different meanings in Europe and America) said that France had "shouted loud and clear" that it wanted to be run "by the French, for the French and with the French" and not by "foreign commissioners" in Brussels. Front Nationale is expected to take 25% of the vote, while the Socialist party will receive its lowest ever vote at 14.5%. 

Britain's UK Independence Party (UKIP) scored a stunning victory by coming out ahead of both mainstream parties, Labor and Conservative, and is the first party in more than a century to do so. Immigration is considered by many to be a serious problem in the UK, and there has been talk for some time of the UK leaving the European Union. The UKIP victory may also have repercussions for the referendum to be held in the fall by Scotland to determine whether it should secede from the UK. 

In Greece, two parties at opposite extremes did well, united by anger at austerity measures. The far left, anti-bailout, anti-austerity party Syriza got 26.7%, coming in in first place among the parties, but that will not be enough to unseat prime minister Antonis Samaris, whose New Democracy party came in second with 22.8% and can form a coalition with other parties. Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party got 10% of the vote, enough to send three MEPs (Members of Parliament) to Brussels, even though some party leaders are being tried for criminal activities. 

Overall, the anti-EU parties did better than expected, but pro-EU parties will still continue to dominate the European Parliament in Brussels. Independent (Brussels) and Washington Post and Kathimerini

'Chocolate King' wins presidential election in Ukraine

Exit polls show that billionaire candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko won a clear victory in Sunday's election for president of Ukraine. He supports strong ties with Europe but also wants to mend relations with Russia. This was a solid victory by Poroshenko and may restore confidence that Ukraine will survive intact, though without Crimea. Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, had said he would honor the results of the election, though in the past his actions have borne little relationship to his promises. If he keeps his promise, then presumably he will stop saying that the government in Kiev is the result of an illegitimate fascist coup. 

As expected, voting was light in the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, where pro-Russian activists have declared their independence from Kiev and are trying to use violence to bring about the annexation of the two provinces by Russia. BBC showed videos of pro-Russian thugs threatening voters and smashing ballot boxes to prevent a vote from taking place. However, turnout was high in the rest of Ukraine. AP and RFERL

Pope Francis to try his hand at a Mideast 'peace process'

Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have all tried to arrange a peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, without success, as have a number of European leaders. Now Pope Francis has announced he is joining the crowd. The Pope is on a three day visit to the Mideast. ("25-May-14 World View -- Pope Francis visits Mideast to reconcile with Jews, Orthodox, and Muslims"

After giving an outdoor mass in Bethlehem's Manger Square on Sunday, he invited Palestinian and Israeli leaders to the Vatican for a "peace initiative." According to the Pope: 

In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with Israeli President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace. 
I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer. 
Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the offer to go to the Vatican, while the office of Israeli President Shimon Peres issued a statement welcoming the invitation. 

It's now been 11 years since I wrote my first generational analysis of the Mideast peace process in May 2003, when President George Bush issued his "Mideast Roadmap to Peace." From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, peace in the Mideast is impossible, because the Arabs and the Jews will be re-fighting their genocidal war that began last time in 1947 with the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. The traumatized survivors of that war spent their lives doing everything they could to keep anything so horrible from happening to the children and grandchildren, and they succeeded in that. But now almost all of those survivors are gone, with the major exception being Mahmoud Abbas himself, and the younger generations have no hesitancy in risking steps that could spiral into all-out war. When Abbas retires or dies, then the last major obstacle to such a war will be removed. CNN

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, France, François Hollande, Socialist Party, Marine Le Pen, Front Nationale, UK Independence Party, UKIP, Greece, Antonis Samaris, Syriza, Golden Dawn, Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, Crimea, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Luhansk, Donetsk, Pope Francis, Vatican, Mahmoud Abbas, Shimon Peres 

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