And their ascendancy is further fueled by the election of Donald Trump.
From Der Spiegel:
More from Der Spiegel:
Less than two weeks after the election of the new US president, Europe’s anti-establishment parties are feeling the wind in their sails. “A Trump victory was considered unthinkable,” says [French rightist presidential candidate Marine] Le Pen, who sent the billionaire her euphoric congratulatory message on Twitter on the night of the election. “Our life has changed,” Nigel Farage of Britain’s UK Independence Party (UKIP) says over a gin & tonic in the lounge of European Parliament in Brussels. In Vienna, Heinz-Christian Strache of the Freedom Party of Austria [FPÖ] proudly reports that he has already reached out to Trump advisers in Washington. And in Dresden, Frauke Petry of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party is planning to announce her candidacy in the 2017 Bundestag election, which is likely to see AfD land seats in federal parliament for the first time.
Populist leaders, who see themselves as the only true representatives of the people, have long known and respected each other. But the days of backroom deals are now over. Le Pen is flirting with her fellow European populists on the open stage: here a kiss of the hand for Marine in Vienna, there a chuckle and a joke with Geert Wilders in The Hague and even a little dance with Matteo Salvini, leader of the separatist Lega Nord in Italy.
The British “yes” vote on withdrawing from the EU and the American “yes” vote for Donald Trump are supposedly merely the first stations on the road to a global political upheaval. The “democratic revolution” has only just begun, says Brexit propagandist Farage. “There are plenty more shocks to come.” And the chief strategist of the Front National, Florian Philippot, tweeted on the morning after Trump’s election: “Their world is collapsing. Ours is being built.”
In two weeks, Austria will hold a re-vote of its 2015 presidential election, in which FPÖ politician Norbert Hofer stands a strong chance of winning. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for March in the Netherlands, where Geert Wilders of the radical anti-Islamist Freedom Party (PVV) is ahead in the polls. The French will then vote for a new president in April and May, and Le Pen stands a good chance of making it to the second round of voting as the frontrunner. Finally, Germans will vote in the fall on the future composition of the Bundestag.