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European Union shows shift in voter perceptions

The latest Trading Thoughts column from Ron Walter.
Trading Thoughts by Ron Walter


The pendulum of public thought swings back and forth in democracies around the globe. Right now the pendulum seems to be moving to the right wing.

In Canada, voters are accustomed to giving governments two terms then dumping them for the other alternative.

That has been the way federal governments have been elected almost since Confederation.

Indeed, federal NDP leader Tommy Douglas once called this two-term routing tweedle dee and tweedle dum in and out.

Charismatic leaders sometimes win a third term.

Justin Trudeau had charisma when first elected, but his popularity, drained by scandal and controversial decisions, has left the field open for Pierre Poilievre.

Provincially, the two terms and out custom doesn’t happen as often.

The global scene has been shifting to the right as well.

India’s Prime Minister Modi won a third term but not with a majority and had to cobble together a coalition.

The European Union elections were surprising by the level of support for right wing parties.

Voters were upset at the costs to combat climate change and the immigration situation with a flood of people from different cultures out of North Africa and the Middle East.

The German Social Democrats, one of the two in and out political parties in Germany ended in third place in the vote.

The far right extremist Alternative for Germany Party surged into second place.

In France, far right Marie Le Pen humiliated the ruling governing party.

Italians doubled support for rightist premier Meloni.

These three countries have the most seats in the Euro assembly.

The centrist-leftists still control the European parliament, but the surge of rightists will influence policies on climate change and immigration.

The mixing of different cultures has not gone well in most of Europe, likely because these countries were homogeneous in tradition, religion and race with less tolerance of change.

An infusion of different cultures was too much for many voters.

The right asking voters to stop “climate hysteria’’ was accepted by many who find the cost of climate change measures reduces their standard of living.

Combatting the effects of climate change will require a reduced standard of living and considerable change. People don’t want to give up their material possessions and conveniences.

In the United States, climate change and immigration are front and centre in the presidential race set for November.

One matter from the European elections that bears remarking is the vote split between political parties.

The winning parties are receiving 30 and 32 per cent of the votes. Those with the most seats must put together a majority by gaining trust from other parties.

Government elected with less than one-third of the vote isn’t democracy by the majority.

But that’s what happens with proportional representation.

Ron Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.           

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