The Quick Take
A quick look at the headlines this week 👀🏃🏻♀️
- EU parliamentary elections: Citizens across 28 European countries cast their votes for the EU Parliament. The center-right and center-left parties that have dominated lost seats to more populist parties. Euroskeptic parties increased their shares from 20 percent to 25 percent.
- India votes: In India, the incumbent prime minister Narendra Modi’s BJP party increased its share of seats in parliament from 282 to 303.
- Whither Netanyahu? Even though he won in April, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government. On Wednesday, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament voted to dissolve. New elections will be held on September 17 (Rosh Hashanah is on September 29, we checked 😉).
- Brexit: Unable to push through the Brexit deal she brokered with the European Union in the UK parliament, Theresa May, the British prime minister, announced last Friday that she would step down from her post and as the Conservative party leader on June 10.
- Austria: Another government bites the dust. Following a scandal, the far right government led by Sebastian Kurz dissolved. New elections will be called for September.
- Mr. Trump goes abroad: Last week the Donald was in Japan. This coming week, he’s headed to the UK.
- The Mueller Reports & national security: It was bound to happen. The Russia investigation that has been dogging domestic politics has reached U.S. foreign policy. Trump has directed his Attorney General, William Barr, to work with U.S. intelligence agencies to declassify documents related to the 2016 presidential election. Yeah, everything is f*cked up.
- Wiki indictment: The U.S. government unveiled an 18-count indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, charging him under the 1917 Espionage Act for his role in the 2010 publication of a trove of secret documents.
All eyes were on Europe last week, for the EU parliamentary elections. With the rise of far-right parties and strongmen in Hungry, Poland, and Italy and the significant gains the far-right has seen in Germany, Spain, and Scandinavia, many wondered whether Europe’s legislative body would go in that direction. Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, had launched a far-right electoral alliance, along with likeminded Austrian, German, Danish, French, and Finnish parties.
The far-right did make gains, but not significant ones. Their numbers went up from 20 percent to 25 percent. The left-leaning Greens in Germany, Portugal, and Scandinavia, made significant gains. What does all this mean?
Europeans, who turned out in large numbers to vote (more than 50 percent), have signaled that they’re watching the EU Parliament — and that the parliament needs to change. There is a real fear that the results, which bring more parties in, will lead to fragmentation. As Anne Applebaum, Natalie Nougayrède, and others note, that’s a maybe; more parties might also mean a more robust politics, where representatives will be hard pressed to deliver. Time will tell. One thing is for sure: Europeans are awake — and have declared, “we are watching you.”
- “The European Parliament will now be a place where real politics happen. There will be deals to do, arguments to have. There are now issues, such as ecology and immigration, that command pan-European interest and require pan-European solutions — and Europeans seem to know it,” Anne Applebaum writes. (Washington Post)
- The real story out of the EU election results was the evidence of a new pluralism emerging in EU politics, including a Green and liberal surge, Natalie Nougayrède writes. (The Guardian)
- Italy’s Matteo Salvini’s Euroskeptic party made big gains in the EU parliamentary elections, but Nathalie Tocci says that’s actually bad for Italy. (Politico)
- Yasmeen Serhan on the slow death of Europe’s traditional center. (The Atlantic)
- On the other hand…. Andrea Kendall-Taylor and
Alina Polyakova think that Europe will be gripped with political paralysis. (Washington Post)
- Elmira spoke to Yasha Mounk about the EU parliamentary elections, which Mounk noted aren’t the most important, but will have significance. He also blamed the EU Parliament for the rise of Viktor Orbán. (Project Syndicate)
The results of India’s month-long voting came in last week. The victor is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It won decisively, with a bigger gain than it did in 2014. The party won 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament, out of 543; in 2014 it secured 282 seats. What does all this mean? Our pal, Alyssa Ayres, (whose book, Our Time Has Come: How India Is Making Its Place In the World, you should read), says that it’s not clear how to interpret the election results.
- India general election 2019: What happened? Becky Dale and Christine Jeavans break it down. (BBC)
- Modi’s thumping mandate — but for what? Alyssa Ayres discusses. (CFR)
- Why did hundreds of millions of Indians give five more years to a man whose government arguably left the country worse than it was in 2014? Snigdha Poonam discusses. (Foreign Policy)
- Arundhati Roy on India’s elections: “It’s a mockery of what a democracy is supposed to be.” (New Republic)
- Has India’s opposition failed? Rana Ayyub discusses. (Al Jazeera)
Well, there is at least one exit in British politics. Last week, UK prime minister Theresa May said she would step down after June 10, after failing to secure Brexit. Who will succeed May? The scramble is on, with talk that Boris Johnson is a favorite. Who do you think it will be? We’ll send you an FPI tote bag and t-shirt if you’re right. Just respond to this email, with “the next UK PM will be….”
- Is Theresa May’s resignation a defeat? Kate Greer says May is excellent at governing, terrible at politics. (The Hill)
- Breaking up is hard to do. Brexit is no better proof. What will happen over the next few months is unknown, but Amanda Sloat says whatever the outcome, the UK and the EU will be connected somehow. (Foreign Affairs)
Even though he won last month’s general election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government. He tried. He had secured 60 seats in the Knesset, Israel’s legislature. He needed 61. What was the problem? Some point to a draft bill to conscript ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military. That’s what one of the parties demanded to join the coalition. That wasn’t happening for Netanyahu. But there is also the corruption scandal. Netanyahu is accused of dispensing favors in exchange for more positive press coverage. The Israeli prime minister was trying hard to pass legislation to make it impossible to indict a sitting prime minister. Without a government to decide on such things, he’s vulnerable. Could this be the death of Bibi?
- Why is Israel heading back to elections? Miriam Berger sheds some light. (Washington Post)
- Joyce Dalsheim on what Israel’s new election reveals about the struggle over Jewishness. (The Conversation)