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French elections 2012

Demotix/Nathalie Paco. All rights reserved.

Our coverage and analysis of the elections that took place in 2012 throughout Europe.

The December elections in Romania

The 9 December elections concluded a rough year for Romanian politics. Unfortunately, there is no sign of more serene times ahead.

After the elections, an alarming audit of Romanian democracy

A motley alliance of socialists, liberals and conservatives won the 9 December Romanian parliamentary elections. What they clearly share is profound dislike for the country's once-powerful president, Traian Basescu, whose five-year mandate continues into 2014. What is less obvious is how they will govern the country.

If voting could change anything: the 2012 Catalan Elections

A vote next week will probably enable the controversial referendum on independence in Catalonia. Madrid continues to try to thwart the move, while demonstrations – and statistics – tell a different story

Who are the Finns? Ask The Finns!

Combining support for the welfare state with xenophobic populist sentiments, The Finns have clouded and shaken the traditionally straightforward Finnish political landscape. Beyond this textbook example of mainstream recognition for a previously radical faction, what do the Finns really stand for?

What to expect from the Czech presidential election

For the first time in their history, Czech citizens will directly elect their president next year, to replace the notoriously Eurosceptic incumbent Vaclav Klaus. The stakes are high in this election, for it will be a large-scale stress test for Czech democracy and European integration in Central Europe.

The Sicilian blow to Italian politics

Nearly 20 percent of Sicily’s electorate voted for Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement (M5S) – an alternative “clean hands” party that has recently gained momentum in Italian politics. Their candidate, the comedian and blogger Giancarlo Cancelleri, seduced Sicilian voters with a fresh - and anti-establishment - approach to politics.

Flemish nationalism: a new landscape

The results of Belgium's local elections has brought victory in the northern Flanders region to the conservative and nationalist but democratic New Flemish Alliance. This represents the transformation of Flemish nationalism, says Cas Mudde.

They all want Monti longer... because they all fear Beppe Grillo's revolution!

In Italy, a consensus is slowly building around a second term for Mario Monti's technocratic government – but could this have less to do with national unity in economically difficult times than with political elites in a last-ditch defence against the threat of Beppe Grillo's populism?

The Dutch elections and the Eurosceptic paradox

Despite alarming predictions, last week's Dutch election results turned out to be anticlimactic, as voters placed their confidence in the two mainstream, moderate parties. But Brussels shouldn't celebrate too soon, as the "European weather vane" shows signs of bigger challenges to come.

Dutch elections, European consequences

The combination of economic troubles and Eurosceptic pressures will increase the international impact of the Netherlands' latest election, says Cas Mudde.

Greece: Syriza shines a light

Like a swan moving forward with relaxed confidence while paddling furiously beneath the surface, Syriza, the radical left coalition that could become the next government of Greece, is facing enormous challenges calmly but with intensifed activity.

Open letter to a good friend and colleague

... who happened to become Greece’s Finance Minister yesterday…

Renegotiating Greece

All leaders have to present any negotiation outcomes in terms of benefits for their constituents rather than the ways in which justice or solidarity are served.

François Hollande and France: the big test

The new French president has consolidated his authority with a decisive win in the legislative elections. But the challenges he faces now get much steeper

“Syriza is the expression of a new radicalism on the left”: excerpt of an interview with Stathis Kouvélakis in late May

The rise of Syriza is a profound transformation for a radical left that is still traumatized by the defeat of Greek communism in the last century. This radical left now wants to break with its position of being eternally in the minority - a force dedicated to nothing but “resistance”. 

Grammars of enmity: a Golden Dawn of contemporary Greek democracy?

Far right groups like Golden Dawn are not a new phenomenon in Greek society, nor do they derive from the consequences of today’s financial crisis. The roots of fascist groups are to be found in an old tendency to rely on the vilification of a political enemy to rule.

Greek populist parties and the disoriented mainstream

The results of May's legislative elections in Greece may derive from the degree of public anger at the EU-IMF rescue package. Nevertheless, immigration was featured very prominently in party programs and public discourses as the main security concern – a trend not limited to the radical right.

Greek election result: an assessment

The New Democracy party will lead the government even though it is utterly clear that at least one in three of the voters who backed it think very little of the party but felt they had no other option. This is as inauspicious a beginning for a new government with a mountain range of challenges as one could have imagined.

After the Greek election

Whatever the case, one thing is certain: Syriza will further increase its voting power. 

European dis-Union: lessons of the Soviet collapse

Europe's crisis is being felt at multiple levels, from the future of the eurozone and divisions between member-states to the rise of populist forces. But is the crisis likely to lead to the European Union's disintegration? The precedent of the Soviet collapse offers some lessons, says Ivan Krastev.

French elections: what does normal stand for?

The vote for Hollande is not so much a radical desire for change as a possibly illusory desire to go back to the pre-crisis period. The socialists have meanwhile opened up a new approach to the economy. But 'racism from above' has led the way in this historic fight over what is normal 

The extinction of the Greek dinosaurs?

The collapse of the two formerly dominant Greek parties, PASOK and New Democracy, has left a gaping void in the center of the political competition space waiting to be filled by liberal forces.

François Hollande and France: the big deal

A new socialist president brings the promise of change to France and Europe, says Patrice de Beer.

Athens shows the way

The Greek people have delivered an unmistakable verdict: out go the ruling incumbents. Greeks have opted instead for radical parties that best express their class interests and social values.

Ungoverned Democracy: Greece after the elections

The results of the elections have brought an end to the post-Junta era in Greek history dominated by New Democracy and PASOK. But if this is a vote for something new, it is by no means clear what this "new" will be.

Feeling lost

On the eve of the elections, a Greek voter contemplates his choices in a ‘liquidified’ country.

Marlière across La Manche: a diary of the 2012 French presidential election

Charles de Gaulle once said that the French presidential election was “an encounter between the nation and a man” (sic). Big Charles may have been right in suggesting that this election is about personality politics. There is much more to it though. Through this election diary, I invite you to follow my journey into this historic European election: analysis of results, as well as personal thoughts on candidates, debates, the media, opinion polls and the “mood” of French voters.

France: towards a new right

The first round of France’s presidential election leaves the incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in a tight corner. Its result also presages a longer struggle over the future shape of the country's political right, says Patrice de Beer.

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