The double lightning bolts the international media is talking about, far right Marine Le Pen of France and right-wing Nigel Farage of Britain, have kicked traditional parties in the political teeth with their European election successes. For the first time in history the populist europhobes were placed first.
Farage said: “It is an earthquake in British politics. It is a remarkable result and it does have, I think, profound consequences for the leaders of the other parties.”
Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has alarmed the mainstream with 24 seats won in the European Parliament. It hopes to preserve the group of parties it leads there, and says it won’t form an alliance with Le Pen’s Front National (FN), judging it anti-Semitic.
The FN is sending an equal number of members to the European Parliament. The difficulty both parties have to overcome, however, is that a minimum of 25 MEPs is needed to form a group, from at least seven countries.
Le Pen taunted Farage at a press conference with Austrian allies FPO, the Dutch PVV, Italian Lega Nord and Belgian Vlams Belang.
Le Pen said: “He would like to stay at the head of a group and therefore would like it if we couldn’t form our own. Sorry Nigel, we are going to form our group.”
UKIP is part of the 11-party group Freedom and Democracy in the outgoing parliament. Some of these didn’t get enough votes in the election from May 22-25 and so have disappeared. Then there are also FN and some other non-grouped parties.
The Briton is assured of the Finns Party and Danish People’s Party staying with his. The Italian Lega Nord has already jumped ship and gone over to the French Front National. Lithuania’s Order and Justice is on the fence deciding which way the wind is blowing. And there are two newly-formed parties: Poland’s Congress of the New Right (KNP) and Alternative for Germany.
The German NPD, Hungary’s far-right Jobbik and Greek Golden Dawn neither Farage nor Le Pen want anything to do with in the Parliament.
At least so far.
The anti-euro German AFD, which scored seven seats on Sunday, or the Swedish Democrats or Italy’s Five Star Movement could help tip the scales. And there’s no rule that says Farage and Le Pen can’t get together.
Grouped parties enjoy more power, subsidies and guaranteed seats on committees.