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

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 EuropeanParliament election as a “political earthquake,” as mainstream partiesacross Europe, including Hollande’s own Socialist party, sufferedcalamitous defeat. Although each country is different, thegeneralization is that the parties that did better than expected favorstrong controls on immigration and advocate leaving the euro currencyor the European Union entirely. 

A big factor in all the elections was the euro crisis, which had notyet occurred at the time of the last European Parliament elections in2009. Countries like France and Greece chafe at the austeritymeasures being forced on them, while countries like Germany dislikehaving 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 runtake 25% of the vote, while the Socialist party will receive itslowest ever vote at 14.5%. 

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

In Greece, two parties at opposite extremes did well, united by angerat austerity measures. The far left, anti-bailout, anti-austerity partySyriza got 26.7%, coming in in first place among the parties, but thatwill not be enough to unseat prime minister Antonis Samaris, whose NewDemocracy party came in second with 22.8% and can form a coalitionwith other parties. Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party got 10% ofthe vote, enough to send three MEPs (Members of Parliament) toBrussels, even though some party leaders are being tried for criminalactivities. 

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

‘Chocolate King’ wins presidential election in Ukraine

Exit polls show that billionaire candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko won aclear victory in Sunday’s election for president of Ukraine. Hesupports strong ties with Europe but also wants to mend relationswith Russia. This was a solid victory by Poroshenko and may restoreconfidence that Ukraine will survive intact, though without Crimea.Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, had said he would honor the resultsof the election, though in the past his actions have borne littlerelationship to his promises. If he keeps his promise, thenpresumably he will stop saying that the government in Kiev is theresult of an illegitimate fascist coup. 

As expected, voting was light in the eastern provinces of Luhansk andDonetsk, where pro-Russian activists have declared their independencefrom Kiev and are trying to use violence to bring about theannexation of the two provinces by Russia. BBC showed videos ofpro-Russian thugs threatening voters and smashing ballot boxes toprevent a vote from taking place. However, turnout was high in therest 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 alltried to arrange a peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,without success, as have a number of European leaders. Now PopeFrancis has announced he is joining the crowd. The Pope is on athree 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 onSunday, he invited Palestinian and Israeli leaders to theVatican for a “peace initiative.” According to the Pope: 

In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, Iwish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with IsraeliPresident Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God forthe gift of peace. 

I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter ofprayer. 

Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is aconstant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of theentire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God theirfervent hopes for peace.

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

It’s now been 11 years since I wrote my first generational analysis ofthe Mideast peace process in May 2003, when President George Bushissued his “Mideast Roadmap to Peace.” From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, peacein the Mideast is impossible, because the Arabs and the Jews will bere-fighting their genocidal war that began last time in 1947 with thepartitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel.The traumatized survivors of that war spent their lives doingeverything they could to keep anything so horrible from happening tothe children and grandchildren, and they succeeded in that. But nowalmost all of those survivors are gone, with the major exception beingMahmoud Abbas himself, and the younger generations have no hesitancyin risking steps that could spiral into all-out war. When Abbasretires or dies, then the last major obstacle to such a war will beremoved. 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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