In India, the EU and more, voters are in a foul mood

Sursa: Facebook

Results from 2024’s „year of democracy” reveal widespread crankiness

Voters all over sure seem to be unhappy in our 2024 “year of democracy,” when over half the world’s population is invited to one form or another of suffrage. The recent days’ turbulence comes from two very different places—India and the European Union—suggesting a pattern that might offer some lessons for the United States, too.

In India, the world’s largest democracy, it was announced last week that voters had denied Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the parliamentary majority it had won in 2014 and 2019. He took just 240 of 543 seats, and just over a third of the vote, and must now go seeking coalition partners or (in an unlikely event) risk losing power.

In the European Union, whose combined population of 450 million is now about a third of India’s, voters shocked elites by giving major boosts to far-right parties in key countries in last weekend’s elections for the European Parliament (which controls considerable budgets and wields much power over the bloc’s various institutions).

This was especially sharp in France and Germany, the EU’s largest countries. And it caused French President Emanuel Macron—in an unnecessarily sporting gesture that would never happen in most countries—to call a snap election for the national parliament, effectively bringing down the government. Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Rally party, which easily won the French portion of the EU vote, may be able to deny Macron’s pro-European centrist party control of France’s parliament, forcing him to share power.

All this comes just days after South African voters delivered a stinging rebuke to the African National Congress, the party of the late—and still-revered—Nelson Mandela, which had ruled non-stop for the 30 years, since the fall of the apartheid regime. Although the ANC is trying—as Modi will—to form a coalition, its loss of a majority for the first time is a landmark moment.

It also comes three weeks before voters in Britain seem ready to hand the ruling Conservatives a defenestration such as has rarely been seen in this cradle of parliamentary democracy: polls suggest a 20-plus percent margin for Labour, whose leader, ex-prosecutor Sir Keir Starmer, can hardly believe his luck at the international mood.

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