Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 05:13:53 AM EST
The meme all over the English-language press, at least, is the "historic drubbing" of the center-left parties. This is taken as a near-universal trend.
But unless I'm missing something, it's not really what actually happened. Most media coverage seems to be considering these events as a 'snapshot' and not looking at longer-term trends.
From the diaries - Nomad
The BBC's chart
| EPP|| 33.4|| -1.4|| 264|| -18|
| Socialists|| 23.2|| -4.1|| 183|| -26|
| Liberal|| 11.0|| +1.6|| 84|| +5|
| Green|| 7.4|| +1.3|| 50|| +9|
| Left|| 5.3|| -0.6|| 34|| -2|
| UEN|| 3.4|| +1.6|| 28|| +2|
| Ind/Dem|| 2.7|| -1.8|| 21|| -15|
| No Group|| 13.6|| +3.4|| 72|| +3.4|
| 0 of 27 countries declared.|
indicates that the EPP/ED lost eighteen seats from the adjusted 2004 totals. Granted, if the British Conservatives had stayed in the coalition that would have been a net gain of 6, but six out of 736 is barely significant.
Consider Germany: the CDU/CSU got 38 percent of the vote to the SPD's 20. The thing is, in 2004 the CDU/CSU got 45 percent. They lost seven seats, five of them to the FDP. How is that a gain for the right? Nor is this share of the vote that new; they have had a plurality of seats since at least 1994. Both the two major parties have lost ground to both the FDP and Greens over the elections since then. The SPD's big year of defeat was 2004, when it sank by nine points, which it failed to win back yesterday.
In the UK, the Conservatives gained only one seat! Their popular vote went up by a single percentage point. The UKIP's vote was basically flat since 2004, and even the heralded BNP triumph is a rise from 4.9 to 6.2 percent of the vote - a gain, but far from the end of the world. It was the Green party that saw the greatest gain in votes, if no seats.
In France, there was indeed an EPP/ED rise and Socialist fall. Even there, the majority of lost Socialist vote went to the Greens. The EPP/ED appear to have pulled their votes away from the NF and MPF, which between them had 17 percent of the 2004 vote. It's hard to interpret this as an overall shift to the right.
Similarly in Poland, there is a sharp rise in EPP/ED support - at the expense of even more conservative parties that had been in Ind/Dem or ALDE. This doesn't count as a shift to the right.
In Italy, I won't even try to delve down into the individual parties - but from the summary results, I see only a moderate shift rightwards, with Left and Green votes going to the EPP, UEN, and Liberal coalitions.
A similar story in Spain - a relatively small loss from the PES to the ALDE and EPP/ED.
I could be wrong on this, not being all that familiar with the intricacies of party politics in each country. But still - it should be hard to draw a universal trend across 27 countries, but the media are doing it anyway. Incorrectly.