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Ruminations on the European Left

May 6th, 2017

A conservative columnist and a liberal analyst think that centre-left politics in Europe has been challenged both by the emerging radical Right and by Liberals. This war on two fronts makes it increasingly difficult for moderate Socialist parties to keep their base together.

Traditional centre-left parties in Europe are in a crisis, Zoltán Ruzsbaczky writes in Magyar Nemzet. Ruzsbaczky recalls that in most European countries, social democratic parties have significantly weakened since the early 2000s, when the reformed moderate Left was dominant across the continent. Ruzsbaczky quotes Csaba Tóth, an analyst for the liberal Republikon Institute, who suggests that the main reason for the centre-left’s decline is its inability to keep together its traditional base, which included blue collar workers as well as urban middle classes. Blue collar workers as well as poorer rural voters are being wooed by the emerging radical right-wing parties who offer to tame globalization and stop migration flows, while the urban middle classes are turning to liberal and green parties, Tóth explains. Ruzsbaczky thinks that similar processes are present in Hungary. The MSZP is being challenged by Jobbik, who target poorer rural constituencies on the one hand, and by the pro-market Democratic Coalition and other liberal parties that try to attract progressive middle class voters, on the other. In this context, it has become increasingly difficult for the Socialists to address both core constituencies, Ruzsbaczky concludes.