Amid a migrant crisis, sluggish economic growth and growing disillusionment with the European Union, far-right parties — some longstanding, others newly formed — have been achieving electoral success in a number of European nations. Here is a quick guide to eight prominent far-right parties that have been making news; it is not a comprehensive list of all the Continent’s active far-right groups. The parties are listed by order of the populations of the countries where they are based.
Alternative for Germany
The Alternative for Germany party, started three years ago as a protest movement against the euro currency, won up to 25 percent of the vote in German state elections in March, challenging Germany’s consensus-driven politics. Last fall, support for the party was reportedly in the 5 percent range, but shot up after the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Cologne. The party “attracted voters who were anti-establishment, anti-liberalization, anti-European, anti-everything that has come to be regarded as the norm,” said Sylke Tempel of the German Council on Foreign Relations. Frauke Petry, 40, the party’s leader, has said border guards might need to turn guns on anyone crossing a frontier illegally. The party’s recently adopted policy platform says “Islam does not belong in Germany” and calls for a ban on the construction of mosques.
The National Front is a nationalist party that uses populist rhetoric to promote its anti-immigration and anti-European Union positions. The party favors protectionist economic policies and would clamp down on government benefits for immigrants, including health care, and drastically reduce the number of immigrants allowed into France. The party was established in 1972; its founders and sympathizers included former Nazi collaborators and members of the wartime collaborationist Vichy regime. The National Front is now led by Marine Le Pen, who took over from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 2011. She has tried to soften the party’s image. Mr. Le Pen had used overtly anti-Semitic and racist language and faced repeated prosecution on accusations of Holocaust denial and inciting racial hatred. In the first round of voting in regional elections in December, the National Front won a plurality of the national vote (27 percent), but in the second-round runoffs, the party was denied victory in all 13 regions. Ms. Le Pen is expected to be her party’s candidate in the 2017 presidential election and to make it to the second round of voting.
Party for Freedom
The Sweden Democrats party, which has disavowed its roots in the white-supremacist movement, won about 13 percent of the vote in elections in September 2014, which gave it 49 of the 349 seats in Parliament. Because none of the mainstream parties would form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats, the country is governed by a shaky minority coalition of Social Democrats and the Green Party. The Sweden Democrats’ platform calls for heavily restricting immigration, opposes allowing Turkey to join the European Union and seeks a referendum on European Union membership. The party, led by Jimmie Akesson, was Sweden’s most popular in some opinion polls in the winter, but it has since fallen back to third place in most surveys.
People’s Party-Our Slovakia
The anti-Roma People’s Party-Our Slovakia won 8 percent of the vote in March elections, securing 14 seats in the country’s 150-member Parliament. The party’s leader, Marian Kotleba, has said, “Even one immigrant is one too many,” and has called NATO a “criminal organization.” Mr. Kotleba is virulently anti-American; a banner on the administrative building in the Banska Bystrica region, where he is governor, reads “Yankees Go Home.” He has also spoken favorably of Jozef Tiso, the head of the Slovak state during World War II, who was responsible for sending tens of thousands of Jews to concentration camps. The party favors leaving the European Union and the eurozone.
Full article: Europe’s Rising Far Right: A Guide to the Most Prominent Parties (The New York Times)