The real story in the European elections wasn’t the rise of ‘populists and extremists’, but the return of the left-right divide

Greek Left Review

The European Parliament elections saw a number of smaller parties with broadly Eurosceptic or anti-establishment platforms do well across Europe. Jonathan White writes that while this has been dismissed by some commentators as a victory for ‘populists and extremists’, the elections represent a more fundamental shift in European politics. He notes that these parties have substantial differences and display a left-right divide in terms of their ideology. He argues that a more democratic Europe requires recognising the differences among these parties and accepting the limitations of the technocratic approach currently pursued by the EU’s institutions.

For two decades after the Cold War, observers of European democracy talked of the end of left-right politics. Ideological convergence seemed the dominant trend in parliaments and publics alike. This week’s European Parliament election results are one piece of evidence to suggest something different has occurred. After six years of social and economic upheaval, a…

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