Sputnik: Do you think that the rise of Euro skeptic and right-wing parties in Europe signifies the end of these big mainstream parties?
Alastair Newton: I think to a certain extent it depends on the voting system. Clearly where one has proportional representation, small parties, smaller parties stand to do very well as we saw in Germany which has a semi PR [Proportional representation] system. If we look to the UK and take not the last general election but the previous one where a right-wing nationalist party managed to secure 14% of the vote, let’s keep in mind that it only got them two seats in parliament. So it will depend very largely on the electoral system in play at any given time.
Furthermore, the rise of populism, and the continued rise of populism, is by no means inevitable. It’s not over. I don’t believe for one moment that it’s over. I think in Italy the general election is on the 4th of March, we are going to see a pretty big vote for Populist Parties, bearing in mind that in Italy as in other countries take The Netherlands for example, which had a general election last year the mainstream parties have been moving into more populist stances in order to try to counter these nationalist parties, which have risen in their midst.
The one exception to that is of course France where Emmanuel Macron demonstrated that with the right person and the right policies, it is possible to beat a right-wing nationalist party from the center ground. Of course what Emmanuel Macron now has to do is to deliver on what he committed to deliver, otherwise the Front National in France, in my view, will be an even bigger threat in the next election cycle during 2022 than it was last year.
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Alastair Newton, is a co-founder and director of Alavan Business Advisory and a former career diplomat with the British Foreign Service.
The views and opinions expressed by Alastair Newton are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.