Home News The rise of the far right is hampered by its own divisions

The rise of the far right is hampered by its own divisions


Nationalists are on the rise, expected to win big in 27 countries vote This week’s European Parliament elections are underway. But the prospect of success has already left far-right parties wondering how far is too far.

The question has become urgent as popular far-right parties, particularly in Italy and France, seek to bring themselves more in line with mainstream thought, distinguishing those that have been sanitized and accepted from those that are still considered taboo.

today, Far right is a movement beset by divisions and alliance shifts.

Last year, French nationalist Marine Le Pen appeared to express her disdain for Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meroni, who has been in power since taking office. Strive to become a trustworthy partner For mainstream conservatives. “Melonie is not my twin sister,” she Italian newspaper La Repubblicamaking it clear that she considers herself to be on the stronger side.

Now, Le Pen has offered to form a coalition in the European Parliament, but it is unclear whether Meroni will be willing to give her a ride, as Le Pen’s party is still despised by many on Europe’s center-right.

Le Pen has distanced herself from the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a far-right party that appears to have become too extreme even for its own party members. In May, Le Pen and her group in the European Parliament (none of whom shies away from nationalism) Kick out the Alternative for Germany party Earlier, one of the group’s leaders made remarks that appeared to justify some of its members joining the SS, a Nazi paramilitary force.

“For Ms. Le Pen, abandoning the AfD is a great political gift,” said Jacob F. Kirkegaard, a Brussels political analyst and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a research group. “She can position herself as ‘not far-right.’

There is no doubt that nationalist parties across Europe help each other, as each success opens a path to acceptance for others. As like-minded political actors, they agree on key themes that transcend national borders, such as protecting Christian traditions and family values, opposing immigration and criticizing the European Union.

But now, for the far right, it is a debate about what is acceptable. It is proving to be a messy place for almost all parties that not long ago would have been deemed unacceptable by European authorities.

The disappearance of this barrier is due to the success of far-right parties and the adoption of parts of their agenda by mainstream parties.

This also poses a question to mainstream European society: which nationalist parties are they willing to cooperate with if necessary?

Nicolai von Ondarza, a political scientist at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said mainstream parties are “touching the red line.” “Where the red line is drawn has to do with who will have the majority in the European Parliament.”

The challenge is particularly acute for Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, the bloc’s top executive and leader of parliament’s mainstream conservative party.

With opinion polls predicting a shrinking left and a rise of the far right in Thursday-Sunday elections, von der Leyen has signaled she may seek far-right allies to garner enough votes to win parliamentary approval for another term. But such a move could alienate the center-left, on which she depends, and any far-right party, including Meroni’s, would be too extreme.

She has tried to firmly define who are acceptable partners, drawing a line between herself and the far right.

“It’s very important to have clear principles: who we want to work with,” she said at a recent election debate. Parties must be “pro-European,” “pro-Ukrainian,” “anti-Putin” and “pro-rule of law,” she said.

Von der Leyen ruled out those parties, saying Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, the Alternative for Germany and Poland’s Federal Party “are friends of Putin and they want to destroy our Europe.”

She suggested that Ms. Meloni was on the acceptable side of that divide. That could put Ms. Meloni in a key position after the election. She could choose sides.

Le Pen hopes an alliance with Meronni will make the far right the second-largest force in the European Parliament, while Meronni has said she wants to push the left into opposition.

But experts say joining forces with Le Pen could hamper the Italian leader’s efforts to expand her influence in Brussels and become a partner to mainstream conservatives.

Despite her political roots in neo-fascist parties and her culture wars at home, Meroni has emerged as a pragmatic actor on the international stage, aligning herself firmly with European leadership on key issues such as supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Le Pen is in a more difficult position. Although Meroni leads one of the founding countries of the European Union, Le Pen remains marginalized in France, and her opponents still worry that she and her party threaten the values ​​of the Republic.

Perhaps more importantly, Le Pen and some of her other far-right allies are more ambiguous than Melloni on issues such as her support for Ukraine.

While Ms. Le Pen and some of her party’s top officials have condemned Russia Full-scale invasion of Ukraineother party officials were vague. The party has repeatedly opposed Imposing sanctions on some countries Russia imports and rejects the possibility of Ukraine joining the EU or NATO.

“The organization will be poisoned again,” von Ondarza said, becoming “an unacceptable partner for the center-right.”

Members of the German Alternative for Germany party Accused of In Russia, and in Italy, Le Pen’s ally Matteo Salvini The recent mention of the rubber-stamp election of President Vladimir Putin This is a legitimate expression of the will of the Russian people.

Another far-right leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has also embraced and followed Putin’s lead, continuing to oppose sending weapons to Ukraine or banning oil imports from Russia.

Immigration is another contradiction that nationalist parties face as they try to build international coalitions. Although the parties are generally opposed to immigration, their national interests conflict at the EU level.

Ms. Meloni supports Legislation to distribute immigrants from border states Nationalist leaders in countries far from their shores, such as Hungary’s Mr Orban, are less keen on the idea.

“Isn’t it contradictory that a nationalist party cooperates with cross-border parties?” asked Alberto Alemanno, professor of EU law at HEC Paris, adding that the parties are “essentially incompatible”.

This division is not new. Far-right parties finance, cheer, embrace and imitate each other, dream of forming a grand coalition of nationalist parties, but also clash and blame each other.

Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party, which helped secure Brexit, refused to reach a deal with Le Pen’s party in 2014, citing “bigotry and anti-Semitism.” Before proposing a coalition, Le Pen accused Meroni of conspiring to help von der Leyen “exacerbate policies that make the people of Europe suffer.”

However, for now, Ms Meloni is not ruling anything out.

Asked if she would work with far-right parties, she said she would not give “proof of respectability” to any party. “They gave me my whole life.”

Aurelien Brittain Reporting from Paris also contributed.

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