Wednesday 30 September 2009

The Left makes gains in Europe. Lessons for the UK?

In the German elections the headline was the turn to the right, largely due to gains for the free-market Free Democrats. The election was a disaster for the SPD.

But big advances were made by Die Linke (Left Party), a far left grouping made up of ex-communists from the East and disillusioned SPDers. They got 12% of the vote and increased their representation in Parliament from 54 to 76. A majority of their MPs are women.

In Portugal, Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc) has won 16 seats in Parliament.

This demonstrates that parties to the left of New Labour-style social democracy can break through if they are ready to work consistently and people willing to sink their differences. A lesson surely for our divided left.

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