While Rutte’s victory in Holland has the elites and the media proclaiming the populist revolution is dead (despite a surge in Wilders’ support relative to mainstream parties), movements driven by Euroskepticism and “anti-establishment” sentiment remain top of mind in all of Europe’s key elections this year.
On some level, as Goldman notes, the “populist” political trends in these countries are nothing new; strong populist influences have ebbed and flowed in Europe over time. But this tide has again swelled in recent years for both economic and socio-cultural reasons.
While few think Euroskeptic forces will win control of government in any of the upcoming elections, as GS Chief European Economist Huw Pill argues, even that result should be far from comforting for proponents of the European vision. And one glance at the statistics below makes it clear that anti-establishment-ism is anything but dead in Europe…
Did somebody say fragmentation?
Largest party’s % of the vote in parliamentary elections (lhs) vs. number of parties that won seats in the same election (rhs), period average
In Pill’s view, mainstream European parties are caught in a trap, with needed reforms likely to draw ire from both ends of the political spectrum. The upshot: Unless mainstream politicians use their (expected) wins this year to capitalize on the favorable macro environment and move swiftly to overcome voter concerns, Euroskeptic threats will continue to rise and support for European integration will further erode.