Don’t look now, from RT:
The far-right Dutch anti-immigration Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, would become the largest party in the parliament and beat the prime minister’s ruling conservative liberals if elections were held today, according to a new poll data.
The Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) would win 33 seats in the 150-seat lower chamber of the Dutch parliament if elections were held today, according to Maurice de Hond, the Netherlands’ most reputed pollster.
In that case, Wilders would become the Netherlands’ next prime minister as chairman of the biggest parliamentary party, according to the PJ Media news outlet. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy would finish second, securing 25 seats.
The far-right party has 15 seats in the current parliament, having gained about 10 percent of the vote at the 2012 general election. The next election will take place in March 2017, leaving many to believe Wilders will triumph amid growing frustration with the Netherlands’ center-right coalition.
Notably, electoral support for the PVV has not changed dramatically over the past few months. In August, Maurice de Hond predicted the party would have the same 33 seats, down from the February prediction of 42 seats, according to Dutch News. Despite trailing in polls at that time, Wilders’ party remained the country’s biggest with 22 percent of voters backing it.
The PVV appears to be gaining ground despite the ongoing court trial against Wilders, who was charged with inciting hatred and discrimination against the Dutch Moroccan community.
The charges were brought after the controversial far-right leader led a chant for fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands at a rally last year. State prosecutors insist Wilders engaged in hate speech when he asked supporters if they wanted “fewer or more Moroccans” in the Netherlands. After supporters chanted back “fewer,” he replied: “We’ll take care of it.”
See comments below. The Netherlands:
…has Proportional Voting which means the result does not automatically grant PVV the right to govern. They still need to get together a majority coalition.
Pretty much all other parties have ruled out forming a coalition with PVV after some particular racist remarks by Geert Wilders. For that reason it is not going to happen, period.
The PJmedia release is blatantly wrong and clearly does not understand Dutch politics. Geert Wilders will not be Prime-Minister. In fact, he is banking on it. PVV is a party that thrives in opposition. It makes for a nice headline though.
Not much news on Italy today though one pollster is claiming a swing back to “yes”:
Figuring out which way Italians will vote on Sunday is proving to be a tricky task. This is more than simply a reflection of the broader global questioning of polls’ reliability in the wake of this year’s big polling misses (Brexit, Trump). Perhaps unusually for a country whose citizens have a reputation for volubility (or perhaps because of this), Italy takes an aggressive approach to electoral silence: there’s a special emphasis in the public square on the “private and secret” nature of voting (this is, after all, a nation that only abolished secret voting in parliament in 1988), and institutions work hard to ensure there is minimal interference in the period immediately preceding elections with the quiet, contemplative and solitary act of civil enfranchisement.
Polling, in particular, is prohibited in the final two weeks of Italian political campaigns.
Since there have been no polls published on Sunday’s referendum since November 19, the Italian and global press has been liberated from the self-imposed obligation to slavishly report the latest polling swings. What has it done with this new freedom? Mostly, it’s repeated the results of the final polls published before the blackout began, all of which showed No ahead. Italian government bond yields have climbed in response to No’s time-frozen lead in the polls. Newly aware of the fallacy of over-reliance on polls, the media and investors have taken the next great test of global volatility as an opportunity to remain over-reliant on polls. What’s Italian for “plus ça change”?
Predata’s signals, which measure the level of engagement generated by each side of the referendum campaign online, tell a different story.
The No camp dominated the digital referendum campaign for all of September and October, mirroring poll findings, but in early November, Yes began to gather momentum. That momentum has accelerated in the 10 days since the polling blackout descended, and Yes is now “ahead” in the digital campaign.
We shall see. Austria is still expected to elect a neo-Nazi to its presidency Sunday, from the FT:
Why does Austria’s presidential election matter to the world?
The vote is a test of support for European rightwing nationalism in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as US president. If he wins, Mr Hofer would be the first far-right head of state in western Europe since the second world war. A strong vote could also foreshadow the Freedom party becoming the largest grouping after parliamentary elections due by September 2018 at the latest, giving it a lead role in a new Austrian government.
Formed by former Nazis in the 1950s, Austria’s Freedom party has long alarmed European mainstream politicians because of its whitewashing of the country’s Nazi history and association with anti-Semitism. Austria was ostracised in 2000 when the Freedom party joined a government coalition. As Europe’s immigration crisis unfolded last year, it evolved as a populist movement with clear anti-Islamist leanings.
How powerful is an Austria president?
Some argue the significance of the election is limited because an Austrian president, by convention, has largely a ceremonial role. Political power in Austria lies with the government led by the chancellor, currently Christian Kern, a Social Democrat and former head of the country’s railways who took office in May.
But the powers of the president are potentially considerable. They include appointing and dismissing ministers and calling parliamentary elections.
During the lengthy campaign both candidates have suggested they would use the president’s powers proactively. Mr Van der Bellen would seek to stop a Freedom party candidate becoming chancellor. Mr Hofer has indicated he would sack the government if it did not take a sufficiently hard line on immigration.
Is this a vote on Austria’s membership of the EU?
Not really. After the UK Brexit vote in June, Mr Hofer hinted the Freedom party might call a referendum on Austrian membership. But opinion polls showed his remarks upset voters and he quickly backtracked on any suggestions his party could take the country out of the EU. Given the country’s reliance on exports and tourism, Austrians are wary of upsetting economic links with near neighbours.
The French Left is trying to pick up the pieces, also from the FT:
François Hollande has signalled his determination to defy record unpopularity and Socialist party rivals to seek re-election, betting that having François Fillon as an opponent has improved his chance of keeping the French presidency.
Mr Hollande believes he can unify the leftwing electorate after the nomination of Mr Fillon, a free-market conservative Catholic, as the centre-right’s presidential nominee, according to people within the government.
“He knows the situation is complicated for him but he’s also extraordinarily self-confident,” a person with knowledge of the situation said. “First, we were told Nicolas Sarkozy was the easiest candidate to defeat; then Alain Juppé was beatable because he was a ‘bad campaigner’. Now we’re told Fillon is the perfect candidate for the left.”
The prospect of an Hollande candidacy, which could be announced as soon as this week, has plunged the Socialist party — which is deeply divided over the president’s pro-business shift two years ago — into disarray.
With approval ratings stuck at 4 per cent, the French president is not expected to progress beyond the first round of the election in April. Opinion surveys suggest Mr Hollande might win less than 10 per cent of the vote — behind both Emmanuel Macron, his former protégé and economy minister who is running as an independent, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-left politician.
Mr Fillon won the centre-right nomination last Sunday and is now predicted to become the next president of France, with polls suggesting he will defeat Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader, in the election’s second round.
Such a scenario, after a series of crushing defeats in recent local elections, would put hundreds of Socialist MPs at risk of losing their seats in subsequent parliamentary polls in June and threaten upheaval in the party.
Long-time divisions in the party, between social democrats who support the government’s pro-business midterm U-turn and those who want a return to a more traditional socialist platform, are too deep to withstand a defeat next year, according to Claude Patriat, a political sciences professor at Université de Bourgogne.
“What is at stake here is who is picking up the pieces after the explosion of the Socialist party in May,” Mr Patriat said.
Such a dire scenario has prompted rivals, including Arnaud Montebourg, the former economy minister and socialist firebrand, to announce plans to challenge the sitting president in a leftwing primary, scheduled in January.
The prospect of a victory for Mr Montebourg over Mr Hollande in the primary has, in turn, pushed Manuel Valls, prime minister, to consider throwing his hat into the ring— bringing party politics to the highest echelons of the state. Mr Montebourg led a party rebellion after stepping down from Mr Valls’ government in 2014 because he disagreed with the prime minister’s supply-side reforms.
Deck chairs on the Titanic. Shifting pro-business today, cripes, that’s a tin ear! (Hello the Aussie Greens?) A different Left candidate with more focus on working class living standards could help split the National Front vote.
Meanwhile, spreads contracted a little as bunds sold heavily on the OPEC deal:
This weekend’s two votes are largely symbolic but if they both go to de-globalisers then the euro must be considered dead currency walking.