Wed Nov 28th, 2007 at 09:07:48 AM EST
Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU earlier this year. Their parliaments already appointed 35 resp. 18 MEPs as observers in the European Parliament, who then became voting members. But this past Sunday (25 November), they were replaced democratically in mid-term European Parliament elections.
The results are no reason to celebrate for progressives and leftists, but there were some noteworthy changes, as can be seen on the summary table on shifts in the EP:
|European Parliament party/group||Seats||Change|
|EPP (European People's Party, centre-right)||24||+11|
|PES (Party of European Socialists)||15||-3|
|ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe)||11||-4|
|ex ITS (Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty; dissolved far-right faction)||3||-4|
E.g., the clear and sole winner is the EPP, even if some of the gains won't be voters too disciplined. Below the fold, the results for parties in the two countries, with some commentary.
The general bad news first: low participation, just below 30% in both countries.
I took the table from Wiki page and edited it:
|Party||EP Party (group)||Vote %||Seats||Change|
|PD (Democratic Party, neocon, President Băsescu's party)|| EPP|| 28.81|| 13|| +8|
|PSD (Social Democratic Party, ex-reformed-communist)|| PES|| 23.11|| 10|| -2|
|PNL (National Liberal Party, con-neolib, PM Popescu-Tăriceanu's minority government party)|| ALDE|| 13.44|| 6|| ±0|
|PLD (Liberal Democratic Party, neocon-neolib, PNL's pro-PD breakaway)||to join EPP|| 7.78|| 3|| +3|
|RMDSz/UDMR (Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, minority centre-right)|| EPP|| 5.52|| 2|| -1|
|PNG (New Generation Party - Christian Democratic, populist one-man party)|| None|| 4.85|| 0|| --|
|PRM (Greater Romania Party, far-right)||ex ITS|| 4.15|| 0|| -5|
|László Tőkés (independent, Hungarian hard-right)||to join EPP|| 3.44|| 1|| +1|
|PC (Conservative Party, social-conservative)|| ALDE(!)|| 2.93|| 0|| -2|
|DFDR/FDGR (Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania, minority centre-right)|| EPP|| -|| 0|| -1|
|Mircea Coşea (PNL and ALDE deserter)||ex ITS|| -|| 0|| -1|
Turnout was 29.46%.
Romania has right-wing parties of various stripes a-plenty. After the last national elections, PD and PNL barely scraped together a majority with smaller parties/independents, but then fell out with each other, and split the liberals, resulting in an oddity: PNL formed the perhaps smallest minority government in the democratic world ever.
So the good news is the fiery death of PRM, the party of Corneliu Vadim Tudor, Ceauşescu's court poet turned fascist leader. This happened shortly after PRM blew up the far-right faction ITS in the European Parliament: they left in protest of their anti-Romanian-immigrants colleagues from Italy...
Independent candidate László Tőkés is a story in its own.
Tőkés was a Calvinist pastor in Timişoara (Hungarian: Temesvár, German: Temeschburg, Bulgarian: Тимишоара, Serbian: Темишвар/Temivar). In December 1989, an eviction order was put on him, but his flock's protective blockade turned into mass anti-regime protests the regime tried to crush violently (almost a hundred dead), which triggered the 1989 Romanian Revolution.
Tőkés became bishop, as well as honorary President of RMDSz/UDMR. However, he drifted off towards the nationalist-separatist far-right, regularly criticised his party as too compromising, and then left it and formed a new movement -- without election success so far nationally. But a few weeks ago, Viktor Orbán, the reckless leader of the main opposition party in Hungary, right-populist Fidesz (member of EPP like RMDSz), came to Transsylvania (where he is very popular) to campaign for Tőkés!
Perfect move to have a subservient base in Transsylvania and please his right at home, and also perfect for inciting ethnic tensions. What's more, since the ethnic Hungarian minority in Romania is 6.6%, it was predicted that RMDSz will fail at the 5% limit and Tőkés at the 100%/35=2.8% limit. Instead, outstanding turnout in Transsylvania propelled both the party and the loathsome bishop above the limit (but if all that would have gone to RMDSz, they may have won 4 seats instead of 2+1). Interestingly, the relative vote was not uniform: the Szekler areas went for Tőkés.
I took the table from Wiki page and edited it:
Turnout was 28.6%.
The winner of most votes was the populist party created in support of Sofia mayor Boyko Borisov, who was covered earlier on ET by our sadly absent Bulgarian students:
Also, on 19/05/2007, nanne
quoted an article quoting Borisov's criticism of how accession was handled in the Salon
It appears that the popularity of Borisov's popularism is ebbing, earlier he had up to 47% in polls. The bad news is that the far right increased its share of the vote. This may be a result of low overall and high extremist turnout, but still -- compare to Romania.
The Socialists failed to keep together the Coalition for Bulgaria with the other leftist parties, which meant that all the others failed miserably, and one EP seat was lost -- even while the non-populist right-wing was split and also crashed out of the EP.
The real winner of the EP elections was the Turkish minority party, benefitting from a high ethnic minority vs. overall low turnout. Thus they managed to achieve the seat gain the RMDSz/UDMR was prevented from in Romania. The role of this party was discussed in ccarc's 12/04/2006 diary The Role of an Ethnic Party--the Bulgarian Example.