Belgium's Left Breakthrough

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1847 ... June 17, 2019

Belgium’s Left Breakthrough

Denis Rogatyuk

On May 27th, Europe awakened to what seemed to be like a new stage in the resurgence of the populist right and reactionary forces, and a major retreat for the radical left in the elections to the European parliament.

In Italy, the growing political hegemony of Matteo Salvini’s project was solidified with his party’s clear victory across northern and central regions of the country, while the Left effectively ceased to exist on the institutional level. In Spain, Unidas Podemos returned only 6 out of 11 MEPs, the same amount as La France Insoumise, whose lacklustre performance saw them achieve only 6.31% of the vote. Similar losses were observed for left-of-centre-left parties across Germany, Greece, Holland and the Czech Republic, while the left vote across Portugal and the Nordic countries remained stable compared to 2014.

In 2014, Syriza had been one of the big stories of the European elections and, with strong performances for Podemos in Spain and Sinn Féin in Ireland, the rise of the Nordic-Green Left bloc... (GUE-NGL) was one of the stories of the election. Five years on, these left-wing alternatives have faded against the backdrop of an increasingly-strong populist right. But one country stands as an exception to this trend, providing a stark contrast to the failures elsewhere on the radical left.

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