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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

European hotheads

Are the multiple crises in Europe allowing extremist parties to eat into the support base of the more traditional parties?

Alexis Tsipras has won a decisive victory in the Greek elections. His win comes a few days after the Labour Party in the UK elected radical socialist Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader. At the other end of the political spectrum, French opinion polls show that the right-wing Marine Le Pen of the National Front is gaining ground among voters. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has already stoked controversy with remarks that Europe should keep out migrants if it wanted to protect its Christian identity.

Are the multiple crises in Europe allowing extremist parties to eat into the support base of the more traditional parties? Is this an advance warning that the broad ideological consensus that emerged after the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 will be challenged? It is too soon to say anything for sure. But the rise of political parties at the extremities of the European political system suggests that the coming years could see an interesting churn.

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