Nationalist Parties in the European Union: Electoral Goals and Political Hopes


This is an abridged version of the talk to American Freedom Party members, given in Los Angeles, July 6, 2013.

At first sight it appears that launching a nationalist or a racialist, or a so-called right- wing party in Europe is a relatively easy task — easier than in the USA, where the two party system reigns supreme. But there are often legal and electoral tricks and traps in Europe, not to mention the powerful impact of the ideology of political correctness that hinders nationalist parties in Europe to advance in the political system. Unlike the United States, all 28 member states in the European Union have a fair number of nationalist parties, many of them with representatives at the national, local, or at the European level—although the number of their representatives is almost negligible and their voices hardly audible.

The advantage of the European electoral process is the proportional representation system, common to all states in the EU. It means in practice that a party, however large or small it may be, is assigned a number of seats in the parliament, or at the local council, or municipal level,  based on its proportional score in the election. Thus, if a party obtains 5 %, or 10 %, or 30% of votes it will be theoretically awarded with 5 %, 10%, or 30% of seats in a national parliament or at a local city council.

Looks good, but the reality is different. Thus, Le Front National in France has a solid electoral base of about 15% of French citizens. Surprisingly, it has only 2 members in the French Assembly and 2 members in the European Parliament, a gigantic legislative Soviet-style body in Strasbourg with well over 750 comfortable seats. Things are much better in Austria for the nationalist FPŐ (the Freedom Party), which has well over 30 deputies in the local Parliament. So does the Vlaams Belang in Belgium, which commands the sympathies of about 10 to 30 % of Belgian and Flemish voters respectively. The same goes for the Golden Dawn party in Greece which musters over 7% of votes and which has 18 representatives in the Greek Assembly and 1 representative in the European Parliament. The best score is held by the Hungarian Jobbik party which garners 20 to 30 percent of the votes of Hungary’ citizens and which holds over 40 seats in the Hungarian Parliament.

Aside from the good results of the Hungarian Jobbik and the Greek Golden Dawn, and despite their locally based popularity, all nationalist parties in Europe are constantly attracting negative publicity and calls for a ban. Moreover, chances for creating a nationalist government in Europe, for the time being, are virtually nil.


The Cordon Sanitaire imposed on nationalist parties       

Proportional representation has negative side effects. Almost inevitably, during parliamentary or presidential elections, two rounds of elections are required in order to pronounce the clear winner. Hardly any party, regardless of its ideological stance can get an absolute majority, that is, 51 % of the votes in the first round. This is most certainly true for small nationalist parties that always trail behind in the polls and are quite happy if they can reach the magic 5% threshold in order to enter the parliament. By contrast, tiny, left leaning, often trivial parties on the leftist spectrum, which would virtually have no electoral chances if left alone to themselves, usually piggyback on larger mainstream liberal-leftist  parties prior to the elections. If they are voted into a government they cut a gentleman’s deal with their mainstream master. Leftists always like scratching each other’s back. Thus a small leftish party, even with 1% in the pre-election polls can secure at least a nice ministerial seat in a new liberal- social- democratic coalition government. One hand washes the other. All over Europe coalition governments are common and as a rule they are made up of a strange mix of mainstream conservative or socialist parties, with each securing itself good perks and high visibility in the System.

This process of piggybacking by smaller right-wing parties in Europe is strictly forbidden to mainstream conservative parties. They never make coalitions with nationalist parties. In terms of the ideology, similar to the Republicans and the Democrats in the US, mainstream conservative parties in Europe are becoming more and more just a Xerox copy of their alleged ideological opponents, whether they call themselves “Social Democrats” , “Liberals,” or  “Christian Democrats.”  Quite similar to the US “Republicrats.”

This process of “neutralization” of politics, which the legal scholar Carl Schmitt predicted almost a century ago, is now well under way in Europe, particularly regarding the deliberate removal of the visibility of nationalist parties in Europe, even when they manage to sneak into the parliament. This process is known in Europe as “cordon sanitaire”, or “sanitary cordon,” introduced by mainstream parties of the System long ago. The only recent exception to that rule was the uneasy coalition government made up by the Christian conservative People’s Party of Austria in 2000, which having not scored an absolute majority, decided to build a coalition government with the nationalist party of the late Jőrg Haider, leader of the Freedom Party in Austria.  Immediately, there was a huge outcry all over Europe. Israel called for the boycott of Austria and threatened to withdraw her ambassador. Austria was under trade embargo for several years.

The ban on coalition deals with nationalist parties has been an unwritten rule in Europe ever since 1945. For instance the Flemish nationalist and right- wing party, the Vlaams Belang, has a very significant electorate. However, as the Vlaams Belang is officially catalogued as a “racist party”, other Belgian and other Flemish mainstream conservative parties are scared to death about forming coalitions with it.  As a result, in order to get some respectability and a piece of the budgetary pie, the Vlaams Belang, about 10 years ago, began to change its party platform, its language, and even its name. It is a big error that many nationalist parties, or nationalist hopefuls, or activists, let alone nationalist intellectuals in Europe and the USA make, when they assume that if they tone down their rhetoric, make a few antifascist disclaimers, or say something nice about Israel, they could escape the shut up word of “fascism,” or “racism,” or “anti-Semitism.” Their disclaimers have not helped them much so far.

Liberal Democracy: A Cesspool of Fraud and Corruption

The problem with the proportional representation system is that it spawns countless political sects and creates a climate of clientelism, corruption, nepotism and cronyism. There is such a flurry of small parties all over Europe, which in turn only discourages citizens from going to the polls since they no longer know whom to pick out. Why should they vote for a minuscule nationalist party which is going to be a loser anyway? This is what the much vaunted parliamentary democracy is all about. This “best of all possible worlds,” the so-called “parliamentary democracy,” allows dozens of political parties to combat each other in the public forum. But it is the ideal form of rule to break up the people’s will and any sense of racial cohesion.

Over the last 10 years many nationalist parties (particularly the bigger and more “moderate” ones, such as the Vlaams Belang in Belgium, the Freedom Party in Austria  and Le Front National in France), in order to get a piece of the pie, have been changing their rhetoric, becoming more docile, more philosemitic, and often dumping their original platform.

In France, the policy of refusing to form coalitions with the nationalist Front National, has led to the virtual exclusion of its representatives from the National Assembly. Just  prior to the May 2012 elections, Marine Le Pen, head of the Front National, held third place in opinion polls, but remained behind the other two big contestants, the  “socialist” candidate François Hollande and the “conservative” candidate Nicholas Sarkozy respectively. During the second round of elections, which pitted Hollande against Sarkozy, many mainstream conservatives, the gated rich haute bourgeoisie voters cast their ballots for the socialist Hollande, securing him a clear cut presidential mandate.  Many Front National voters abstained from voting in the second round because they no longer had their nationalist candidate left on the turf.

The same applies to the British BNP. The BNP has been excluded from coalition agreements in the UK. When the two BNP candidates were elected to the European Parliament at the 2009 election, the British government announced it would cut the funds for them.

The problems do not stop there. There are roughly 3 subsets of nationalist blocks in Europe. They differ not so much in terms of their ideology, but rather in terms of their tactics and methods — and egos.  One could observe that phenomenon in Italy in 2001, with an opportunistic  Gianfranco Fini, a future  Deputy minister of Foreign Affairs in the conservative Silvio Berlusconi’s government.  However, until the mid- 90s Signore Fini was a big shot in the MSI, the fascist party in Italy. Nevertheless, ten years later, in 2005, during his new politically correct tenure, and  after becoming a man of the System, he did not hesitate a bit to put the symbolic kippah on his skull during his Yad Vashem ritual of initiation.

Let us keep in mind that nationalist parties, even when represented in European institutions, do not have the same program. Some are more inclined to compromise, some are not. In fact, very often they are at loggerheads with each other, as is the case between and amidst Eastern Europe nationalists. The recent tragic conflict between Serb and Croat nationalists speaks volumes.

Roughly speaking, nationalist parties in Europe can be broken down into 3 pan-European blocks or subdivisions, each loosely connected with the other division, but more often waging private ego wars with other figures from the other subdivisions: Thus we have:  1. The “moderate”: The European Alliance for Freedom, (the FPŐ in Austria, the FN in France, the Vlaams Belang in Belgium); 2. Also the less “moderate”: The Alliance of European National Movements (the Jobbik, the BNP) 3. And the quite “radical” The European National Front (the German National Democratic Party (NPD), the Greek Golden Dawn, the New Right in Romania, the National Revival in Poland). The Golden Dawn in this “radical” nationalist block is the only party with representatives in the national parliament; it is also causing huge headaches to System politicians and its scribes in Europe and America.

American nationalist have a considerable advantage over European nationalists, in so far as they are not plagued by turf war and by conflicting victimhoods. Moreover, American Whites still constitute more than 2 hundred million of the potential voting arsenal – regardless whether they consider themselves “explicit” or “implicit” Whites.  With the upcoming breakdown of the System, many will surely be forced to become very explicit Whites.


Dr. Tom Sunic is former professor of political science and a Board member of the American Freedom Party. He is the author of Homo americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age (2007).

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