Governments toppling in Europe: Bulgaria, Iceland


While the election moved the U.S. government sharply to the right, two recent  European elections are shifting governments in the other direction.

Bulgaria elects a socialist-backed president

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, former Eastern European satellite Bulgaria moved sharply to the right.

And now, it seems, the pendulum is swing back in the other direction.

From EurActiv:

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said he will resign after Socialist-backed candidate, Rumen Radev,  a newcomer to politics, won the run-off of presidential election yesterday [13 November], by a landslide.

Radev won 59.4% of the vote, compared with 36.2% for the candidate of the ruling centre-right GERB party, Tsetska Tsacheva, with 99.3% of polling stations counted.

The results, which reflected exit polls, meant Radev will take office for a five-year term on 22 January next year. Bulgaria’s Vice President will be Iliana Iotova, currently an MEP from the S&D group.

>snip<

Bulgaria’s Socialist-backed candidate, Rumen Radev, led the first round of Bulgaria’s presidential election, partial official results showed early today (7 November), ahead of his main rival from the ruling centre-right GERB party.

Exit poll data show that many voters from all other political forces, including from Borissov’s centre-right force GERB, backed Radev at the run-off.

Iceland neoliberals struggle to form government

An election held 29 October brought a rebuke to the neoliberal government headed by prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson of the Progressive Party,

After the votes were counted, the Progressives lost their primacy to the Independence Party, and President Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson charged its leader, Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, with forming a new government.

But so far, no luck, and now it appears that a coalition will resuklt, either one skewing to the left or another skewing to the right.

Given that the second-place winner was the Left-Green Movement and the Pirate Party came in third, odds are growing that the new government may move leftward. The Progressive Party came in a pitiful fourth.

And now Benediktsson is hinting that he may not be able to form a government.

From the Iceland Monitor:

“There is considerable distance between [party leaders],” Benediktsson told Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV. “But I intend to keep discussions going and see whether or not there is a basis for entering into real coalition talks with other parties.”

He told RÚV that the election results have given him a tricky task, given the quick refusal of many key players to work with other parties.

Crucially, it has emerged that the second-placed Left-Green Movement (15.9%) has now rejected any possibility of partnership talks with the Independence Party.

Leader of Iceland’s centre-right Independence Party Bjarni Benediktsson has hinted that he may be unable to cobble together a coalition to rule Iceland and might have to renounce the mandate he has been given to do so.

>snip<

Independence Party MPs met yesterday to discuss the possibility of a coalition with the two centrist parties, Regeneration (10.5%) and Bright Future (7.2%) – to form a government which would just squeak a majority of one (32 out of 63 MPs).

Should Benediktsson conclude that this set-up would not work, his only option would be to renounce his mandate. In that event, it is thought likely that Jakobsdóttir might try to put together a five-party left-centre coalition to rule Iceland.

Another election worries Icelanders

And that would be the one that installed Donald Trump as President-elect of the United States.

Activists from Reykjavík issued a call for a solidarity rally outside the U.S. embassy as a show of solidarity with marginalized groups in the U.S. threatened by a trump presidency.

From the Iceland Monitor:

“We recommend that people bring a rose to lay down on the steps of the Embassy, as a symbol of love against hate and strength against disrespect,” reads the Facebook page for the event.

“People are encouraged to wear a safety pin, which is becoming a universal symbol for making city spaces safe for all. It is a symbol which gives the message that violence is not a tolerated normalised behaviour.”

“People of all ethnicities, class, sex, sexuality, gender performances, fluid gender identities, mobile and capabilities, ages, religions or citizenships, can in this way show solidarity with each other. Let’s shed light on the non-violent acts and let empathy become our focus.”

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