June 14, 2004

Euro-Elections

Blair and Berlusconi fared poorly at the polls.

It must be the Iraq "shadow", of course!

Except, of course, that Schroder and Chirac's parties fared just as poorly (if not worse, it's a close call).

In the U.K, it bears mentioning, the nefarious specter of Brussels appeared, by far, a bigger factor than that of Baghdad.

And don't miss this gem:

"Despite the reverse, President Jacques Chirac and Jean-Pierre Raffarin, his prime minister, are expected to exploit the historically low turnout to play down the extent of the UMP's poor performance. Before the vote Mr Raffarin observed the vote could not be construed as aimed against the government: "It is Europe which is in question: the response will be one of mistrust or trust towards Europe...."

"As an indication of popular priorities, TF1, the main TV channel, cut its usual practice of devoting an entire evening to election results.

Instead it mixed election results with its main news for half an hour and then went on to transmit the France-England game in the group stage of the Euro 2004 football championships
."

Leaders rubbish sentiment towards Brussels to explain away their poor electoral showings while, meanwhile, the masses are more keen to take in the soccer games unfolding in Portugal.

You think, perhaps, that the long-term success of the supra-national EU project might appear in some doubt (that's a rhetorical question)?

Note, of course, that EU unification was always more of a top-down, elite-driven project.

So the fact that Raffarin is so quick to poo-pooh sentiment towards Euro-land--to explain away his own parties' electoral shortcomings--well, it speaks volumes.

Note too, of course, that structural unemployment and reforms contributed to the Euro-wide protest vote.

Posted by Gregory at June 14, 2004 09:01 PM
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