As Britain’s Parliament reconvenes for the first time since voters cast their ballots to leave the European Union on Thursday, it is not only the Labour Party where maneuvering is occurring regarding the succession. While Boris Johnson has been hailed by the international media as the presumed frontrunner to succeed David Cameron as Conservative leader and prime minister, the party has a long history of rejecting both frontrunners and assassins.
The near victory of Norbert Hofer of the far-right Freedom Party in Austria’s presidential election has sent shockwaves around Europe. These have only partially been diminished by the revelation that Hofer, who led by a 52-48 percent margin on election night, actually lost to his Green Party opponent, Alexander Van der Bellen, by a margin of 30,000 votes once postal ballots were fully tallied.
Far-right parties have been enjoying an upsurge in support across Europe in recent years, but it has been rare for them to make it into government — and rarer still for them to make headway in electoral systems that do not use proportional representation.
The United Kingdom Independence Party managed to win only a single seat in the Britain’s Parliament in 2015 despite earning more than 13 percent of the vote. In France, the Front national came first during the initial round of regional elections this past year only to fail to win a single region when those races went to runoffs. Hofer’s achievement is therefore momentous in that he not only came first in the initial round of the presidential race with 35 percent but very nearly prevailed in the second round, when every other major candidate and party united against him. Read more “Austria’s Presidential Election Was About the Next Election”