European Right-Wing: A Turn to the Right

The murder of flamboyant anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn just days before his party was tipped to take over a quarter of the vote at the Dutch general election, coupled with the success of veteran French right-winger Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first ballot of the French presidential elections, put Europe’s far right at the centre of political debate for the first time in over half a century. Their success is just the latest phase in what might appear to be the inexorable rise of the right across Europe.

The World Today Published 1 June 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 3 minute READ

Dr Julie Smith

Where the center-left was in the ascendant in the late 1990s, parties of the right now seem to be successful everywhere. The re-election of Tony Blair’s New Labour government last year is one of the few exceptions to this trend. While a drift to the moderate right could be written off as simply part of the cyclical process of democratic party politics, the associated phenomenon of the rise of the far right cannot be ignored.

It indicates support for parties and individuals who frequently espouse policies fundamentally opposed to the liberal democratic states in which they are seeking election, and which could potentially undermine other processes such as European integration.

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