On Sunday 22 May, Austria elected its President in the second round. The results of the two candidates were so close that the election was decided when the voting cards were counted on Monday. The neoliberal, green, bourgeois and democratic candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, won the second round of the elections with 50.3% against Freedom Party (FPÖ) candidate Norbert Hofer.
The rise of the radical right in Europe raises many questions. The key here is the crisis of European democracies. To counteract this development, the Left is confronted with great challenges: overcoming mass unemployment and nationalism, and defending democracy.
Portuguese politics is in limbo. The good news is that this limbo, the thin ice on which this agreement is skating, also presents an opportunity to engage in clear and clean politics with room for actual negotiation. The bad news for the right wing and its allies is that this thin ice is proving remarkably resilient, the opposite of what they had expected and indeed hoped for.
More than 300 human rights and aid organisations, church groups, trade unions and political parties from across Europe have called on the EU to uphold its legal responsibilities and hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and to defend the right of individuals and institutions to take part in the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for justice and equality.
The dismantling of labour and social rights has gained in strength on the EU political agenda ever since the crisis broke out. This phenomenon, if more acute in the so-called periphery countries, is however to be witnessed everywhere in Europe.
New elections on 26 June raise hopes for an unprecedented political scenario: As Podemos and Izquierda Unida (IU) have reached an agreement, this is the only coalition that could overturn the situation created by the 20 December election. All the polls currently attribute this coalition about 24% of votes – far more than PSOE.
Even though Serbia’s recent elections featured some new candidacies, these “newcomers” are not new at all. The parliamentary landscape continues to look the same, with the same faces cropping up again and again over the past 25 years. Unfortunately, there is no left-wing option which could use current developments and propose an alternative to the current state of affairs.
While nationalists registered a slight decline in votes, the Conservatives achieved a historical breakthrough and the Labour Party suffered a humiliating defeat in a country that has long been its stronghold.
The Left today is justifiably worried about their future. Currently there is an impression that the public debate is sliding on a left-right axis towards the political extremes. But we know that the world cannot be changed with the help of false prophets, this can be done only by the society-wide action. Hence The Left has to search together the way forward.
Independently of the concrete threats, women are facing if they have to flee (internal displacement as well as seeking refuge in neighbouring countries or in the EU), the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is protesting against the root causes of war and violence which force them to flee.
Last 23 March, European Alternatives and DiEM25 organised “Democracy in Europe”, a large-scale event that brought together in Rome hundreds of Europeans claiming a different path for the current model of Europe.
As a continuation of NPI’s research work on ‘commons’, an open event was organized in Athens on 11 April in cooperation with transform! europe. The speech was given by Dr. Richard Stallman under the title ‘Copyright vs. Community’.
On 11 April Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece and Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal met in Athens to discuss the political and economic challenges facing Europe and their respective countries, as well as the need for forming a progressive front and promoting alternative policies to address these challenges.
Over 70 German intellectuals, leading trade union officers and prominent politicians of SPD, Green Party and The Left have published an appeal which takes the ongoing refugee crisis as a reason for the call for a radical change of course in European and German policies.