We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.

October 24, 2017

Is Kaczynski tired of ruling behind the scenes?

We don't usually do rumours but, if true, this is significant. The Polish press is abuzz with stories about an impending government reshuffle. The ultimate source for all this is an article in the Polish weekly Sieci Prawdy, summarised in wPolitice. But in Poland it's not the PM Beata Szydlo that's considered the real power, but the PiS leader Jaroslaw Kazynski who rules behind the scenes. So, when the Polish press talks about a reshuffle, it doesn't exclude that Szydlo will be one of the ousted ministers, to be replaced by Kaczynski himself. One possibility is for Szydlo to lead the PiS slate for the 2019 European parliament elections. The foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski is also widely expected to be replaced. 

Ostensibly, Kazynski's move would end the visible infighting in the Polish cabinet. We suspect that the move may also have something to do with president Andrzej Duda's veto of the judicial reforms proposed by the government before the summer. Kazynski may feel he's better able than Szydlo to confront Duda.

Show Comments Write a Comment

October 24, 2017

An era of movements instead of parties?

Remember Benoît Hamon, the Socialist candidate-by-accident who will go down in history with a record low for the Socialist vote in the French presidential and legislative elections? Hamon now launched a consulting phase for his new movement, called Mouvement du 1er juillet (M1717), to become a party by December. Another new movement on the left.

Are we in an era of movements rather than parties, as l’Opinion sees it? Hamon and Jean-Luc Mélenchon are banking on generating momentum through movements like this. It is possible only because traditional parties have not yet found their place in Macron’s world. 

The left has been pulverised - the Greens and the Communists almost disappeared from the scene, and the Socialists succumbed to deep internal divisions. On the right, the Front National is weakened by the departure of its top strategist, while the Republicans still seek to clarify who they are in this new political landscape. The elections for a new president of the Republicans is certainly an occasion to mark a new beginning. But the current debate of whether or not to exclude Édouard Philippe or others who joined Macron’s government as party members is depressing. Republicans remain divided over its doctrine and, like MoDem or the Costructifs, they still have to find a way to oppose the government without becoming a caricature. Everything seems to come from Macron, or to go back to him. But Macron’s strength is also his Achilles' heel, concludes Nicolas Beytout. His is a movement with great ambition and goodwill, but too vague in its mission. A stable democracy needs a healthy opposition. We are still not there in France.

Show Comments Write a Comment

October 24, 2017

On the decline of the traditional parties

The German political scientist Wolfgang Merkel has an interesting essay in FAZ, in which he dissects the inexorable declines of what is known in Germany as the peoples' parties - like CDU or SPD - parties that purport not to represent the interest of specific group in society, but of society as a whole. These traditional parties are in a stage of secular decline, the most extreme example being the near extinction of the Dutch labour party at the last elections. There are many aspects of his long essay, which we cannot do justice to in this brief summary, but what we were particularly interested was his analysis of the four stages of the decline of the parties, which started in the late sixties and early seventies.

For the centre-left, the decline started in the early 1970s, an age of a paradigm shift in politics when economic crises triggered the neo-liberal counter-revolution, starting in the UK and the US. This left many people without the degree of social protection they enjoyed earlier.

The second phase, again affecting the centre-left more than the right, has been the conflict between economic and ecological interests, which led to the rise of Green parties recruiting their voters mostly from the centre-left.

The third phase came with the rightward shift among centre-left parties in the 1990s (New Labour, Clinton, Schröder), which opened up a permanent vacuum for parties of the hard left to fill. 

The fourth phase, affecting the centre right, started in the mid-1980s and reached its climax in the current decade: the rise in European integration and cross-border immigration opened up a political space for parties on the far right.

Merkel’s overall conclusion is that the decline of the large parties cannot only - or even primarily - be explained by structural shifts in society and economics, but is mainly the result of decisions taken by policy makers who traded off short-term gains for a long-term decline of their parties. Merkel is pessimistic about the long-term consequences of this development, because parliamentary democracy is critically dependent on strong parties.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.


Recent News

  • October 12, 2017
  • Panicking in London
  • Gabriel's unbearable hypocrisy on the eurozone
  • April 15, 2017
  • Happy Easter
  • October 19, 2016
  • Walloons stand firm
  • Juppé and Macron - father and son?
  • J’ai vraiment dit ça?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 19, 2018
  • On the futility of discussing the German current account surplus
  • The Brexit revocation madness
  • Varadkar, the enfant terrible in the Brexit negotiations
  • September 14, 2017
  • Bravo Mr Juncker
  • ... what he said about the labour market
  • ... and what his speech means for Brexit
  • May 11, 2017
  • Germany rejects IMF’s policy recommendations before they are issued
  • Why Labour is losing
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 26, 2016
  • Will the refugee crisis return?
  • Montebourg en avant
  • Moisi on Sarkozy's chances
  • Binary choices
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 23, 2018
  • More bad news for the SPD
  • Will Theresa May accept a customs union? The Times says yes. We think so too.
  • A comeback for Marine Le Pen?
  • April 03, 2018
  • Is the time for Brexit revocation running out?
  • March 14, 2018
  • The geopolitics of trade war
  • A European labour authority
  • On Novichok
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • February 12, 2018
  • What the euro debate is really about
  • How Brexit can still falter
  • January 29, 2018
  • Where is the opposition in France?
  • Scenarios and risks for Syriza over Macedonia
  • January 17, 2018
  • Labour smashes No Brexit dreams
  • A new political bargain in Portugal?
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 15, 2017
  • Amendment 9 conundrum
  • The negligible GDP impact of the single market
  • December 06, 2017
  • Ireland in search of its own path in the EU
  • Who owns the eurozone?
  • Gabriel's big speech
  • November 27, 2017
  • Will Northern Ireland scupper a Brexit deal?
  • Last-ditch effort to prevent Irish elections
  • Pressure on Wauquiez
  • November 20, 2017
  • Showdown over Northern Ireland
  • Castaner and his list confirmed
  • Gennimata to lead the new left alliance
  • Brexit‘s ultimate irony
  • November 13, 2017
  • A pro-European list: Wauquiez' nightmare
  • Catalan separatism isn't going away
  • Why oh why does Germany behave the way it does?
  • Why the four freedoms matter
  • November 06, 2017
  • Pressures on EU rise over Catalonia
  • German pre-coalition talks hit glitch
  • If you thought UK politics couldn‘t get worse...
  • November 02, 2017
  • The Impact of Brexit
  • German court of auditors questions diesel tax break
  • On trade and violence
  • October 30, 2017
  • Italy's electoral reform seems to backfire already
  • Bregretometer hits another peak
  • October 27, 2017
  • What exactly happened in Catalonia yesterday?
  • Transactional versus strategic foreign policy
  • October 25, 2017
  • How to think about a Brexit baseline scenario
  • Like the right, the left, too, is divided over Europe