The European elections of May 2014 are already arousing concern in connection with low voter turnout and the good results of “populist” parties. Yves Bertoncini puts in perspective these two political challenges while urging to face them, in a Tribune directly inspired from his speech at a conference organised on the 15th of October in Paris by the “Young Europeans” of Sciences Po.
Yves Bertoncini first underlines that it is normal to state a limited turn out rate at “subsidiary” elections, even if this rate could be higher in 2014 than in 2009, given the new institutional and political context. It is not only because the next President of the Commission is to be appointed in connection with the results of the European Elections that the citizens could vote more, but also and above all because many debates at the national level have been structured by political issues in the recent period.
Yves Bertoncini also indicates that an electoral upswing of the “populist” parties should be stated next Spring, as a logical consequence of
economic, social and political crises that both extend beyond the EU and are
beyond its ability to remedy. But he adds that this populist thrust should have a limited impact on the European Parliament, where political forces’ influence
should be gauged on the basis of the number of seats won, of
course, but also of their internal cohesion as well as of their ability to forge majority coalitions with other
parties. Given the fact that
populist parties tend to be structurally weak when
considering the two latter
criteria, their numerical upswing is unlikely to distrupt the functioning of
the European Parliament, beyond the incrising presence of discordant
voices in the Strasbourg assembly.