Letter from …

Austrian flag

Letter from … Vienna

Philipp Novak  |  5 February 2016

2016. Austria’s social democrats are in power, in a loveless grand coalition with their conservative opponents. The government is unpopular; unemployment is rising, government debt growing, and reforms are absent. The rightwing populist Freedom Party of Austria is leading in the polls, on 30 per cent of the vote. The SPÖ lags badly, on just …

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PSOE poster

Letter from … Madrid

Roberto Robles  |  24 December 2015

The Spanish general election on 20 December delivered the most fragmented parliament since the country’s transition to democracy, with the People’s party and the Socialist party suffering unprecedented losses to two new political forces on the centre and on the left – Ciudadanos and Podemos. While this had been widely expected, what was not what …

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SPD. Germany. Social Democrats

Letter from … Berlin

William Bain  |  15 December 2015

Germany’s Social Democrats are one of the great progressive and civilising forces in our continent, having stood fast against fascism and communism and ensured peace and prosperity in postwar Europe with governments led by chancellors of the calibre of Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt. But their decline since 2009 was one of the first signs the …

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Finnish general election

Letter from … Helsinki

Mikko Majander  |  17 November 2015

The Social Democratic party faced a bitter moment of truth in Finland’s April 2015 elections. After four turbulent years as a junior partner in a coalition government the SDP attracted an all-time low of 16.5 per cent of the vote, ranking only fourth among the parties. The elections also produced a new deal in the …

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Justin Trudeau election day

Letter from … Canada

Claudia Chwalisz  |  27 October 2015

Last week, millions of Canadians showed Stephen Harper that they are tired of his low cunning, fear, hate, arrogance and corrosive political discourse. The 11-week election campaign – the longest and most expensive since 1872 – backfired on the Conservatives. Harper tried to convince us to fear our own neighbours, to believe that enemies are …

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Shinzo Abe

Letter from … Tokyo

Andrew Stevens  |  14 October 2015

After his historic December 2012 return to power and the subsequent ‘snap’ election two years later, last week Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his cabinet, but only after inking the contentious Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, the scope of which makes 1994’s Nafta look like a town twinning. We can perhaps forgive Abe, of the country’s …

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Letter From … Lisbon

Hugo Coelho  |  29 September 2015

The history of the euro crisis is full of rising radicals and disgraced moderates. Not so much in Portugal. The country is heading for parliamentary elections on 4 October with no clear threat to the position of the mainstream parties in sight. It was not always evident that the opposition Socialists and the incumbent rightwing coalition …

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Letter from … Abuja

Juliana Adenike Lucas  |  4 September 2015

Tomorrow, 5 September, marks 100 days since Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated as president of Nigeria, after former president Goodluck Jonathan, was rejected at the polls. This election was a momentous point in Nigeria’s history, being the first time an opposition figure won a presidential election since independence in 1960. Corruption was a prominent issue at …

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Partit Laburista. Labour party of Malta

Letter from … Valletta

Joseph Muscat  |  24 August 2015

An old adage has it that a rightwing politician who ‘borrows’ progressive ideas is smart, while a social democrat who takes a leaf out of the book of commonsense conservatism is a traitor. Political parties are not pressure groups. Their aim is not to press government to make changes, but to be in government and make those changes. …

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justin trudeau

Letter From … Ottawa

Andrew Cardozo  |  7 July 2015

The next federal election in Canada takes place on 19 October – and it is pretty difficult to tell what will happen. The three major parties are running neck and neck in the public opinion polls – the Conservatives, the New Democratic party and the Liberal party. In addition, the Quebec separatist party, the Bloc Québécois, which was almost …

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