Would you vote for a political party whose campaign includes a poster against standardizing women’s breast sizes? How about one which is determined to return to exclusive Christian principles, or Feminist Rights, Neo-Nazi or de-unification of the State? The German elections for new representatives in Europe have all these, and more. There is no two-party system where one or the other is guaranteed a win, the outcome could be a mish-mash of different opinions, different directions, widely different policies and, ultimately, a government comprising more than one political party.
Some European countries have already completed voting, Germans went to the polls today. That is, some Germans went but, as with so many elections in the last few decades, considerably less than politicians hope for or need to claim a true and effective mandate. Europe, unless you’re complaining about the latest piece of legislation to come out of Brussels, holds little interest for the masses.
The European parliament is, for many, an abstract organization with little meaning, despite the fact that it produces more legislation, more new laws, than any one country in the Union. Everyone complains about decisions made in Brussels, claims that the European Union is crushing sovereign States and individual Rights but, when it comes to putting their cross on a piece of paper, actually voicing their opinion with a vote, the will is lacking.
Photo Credit: European Parliament – Creative Commons
One major problem for Europe is that this will to vote is not lacking in all quarters. The main political parties in Germany – the CDU, SPD, FDP and Green Party – tend to lose out through a lack of interest. The more extreme parties, where feelings are higher, where there is more activism, benefit; and their supporters are more inclined to place their cross in the appropriate box. The extreme left, the extreme right tend, as a result, to gain a higher percentage of the vote not because more have voted for them, but because fewer have cast their vote for the moderate or mainstream parties. Several cities and larger communities have, in recent local elections, learned this lesson the hard way, with the Neo-Nazi NPD gaining seats in local councils and, in at least one case, gaining control of a city council.
Is this likely to happen with the European elections? Will the results later tonight show a gain, through a loss of voters’ interest by moderate citizens, for the extreme parties? The chances are good that one or another of the far left or far right parties will gain seats, possibly even some of the parties which cannot, with all due respect, be called serious or even representative. The European parliament will suffer as a whole, and Europe as a direct result. This, however, is unlikely to bring any major changes to the way citizens in Europe, especially in Germany, vote at the next round of elections. The European parliament, in four or five years time, will still be seen as an unimportant, for some unnecessary burden in the political arena, and not worthy of their time to place that all important cross next to a party name on a sheet of paper.
The only good side? At least the ordinary citizen who claims to be politically aware will have more fuel to burn whilst discussing the latest legislation to come out of Brussels, and cry into their beer.
- Viktoria Michaelis.