Letter from …

Letter from … Wrocław

Michal Syska  |  17 September 2014

After the fall of communism, central and eastern European states faced the challenge of building pluralist party systems, requiring authoritarian communist parties to adapt. Most underwent a reorientation towards social democracy and in time became the strongest leftwing parties in their respective states – including in Poland. Here the postcommunist social democratic left, represented by …

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Letter From … Tel Aviv

Hilik Bar  |  15 July 2014

The political commentator Yossi Verter recently suggested in the Haaretz newspaper that the chair of the Israeli Labor party, Isaac Herzog, ‘gives the impression of being a figure who could endanger Benjamin Netanyahu’s election to a fourth term as prime minister’. There are stirrings in the air to suggest just that possibility. One of the sad hallmarks of …

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Letter from … Sydney

Tamsin Lloyd  |  4 June 2014

Balmain is an inner-Sydney state constituency with 50,000 voters. Traditionally Labor heartland, it has changed under gentrification and its vote is now unusual in that it falls almost exactly into thirds – split between the Liberals, Labor and the Greens. It was one of the seats that fell at the 2011 New South Wales election, …

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Letter From … Hamburg

Marcel Lewandowsky  |  16 May 2014

Does the Federal Republic finally have its own rightwing populist party? While most other European countries have been facing successful challengers from the right – such as the Front National in France or the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs in Austria – Germany remained something of an Isle of the Blessed. In the 2013 federal election, a …

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Letter from … Brussels

Christophe Sente  |  15 April 2014

One of the few centre-left parties in Europe in power, Belgium’s Socialist party, next month faces regional, national and European elections. Socialist party leader and prime minister Elio di Rupo has won credit for his contribution to the country’s political stabilisation in December 2011, concluding 500 days of negotiations towards constructing a federal political majority after the …

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Letter from … Madrid

Juan Rodríguez Teruel  |  3 April 2014

The Spanish Socialist party is stuck in a nasty paradox: its main opponent, the People’s party – in power nationally as well as in most of the regions and important cities – is performing very poorly after two years in power, dropping 25 per cent in the polls, contending with extremely weak ratings for prime …

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Letter from … Florence

Duncan McDonnell  |  12 February 2014

At the end of a year which delivered much less than it had promised for the Italian centre-left, Matteo Renzi’s victory in the Partito Democratico leadership primaries in December provides several reasons for optimism. First of all, the simple fact that he is 39. Italy has long been a country for old men – its …

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Letter From … Australia

Patrick Diamond  |  9 December 2013

Like Labour in Britain in 2010, the Australian Labor party suffered a heavy defeat in 2013, despite having a record replete with governing achievements. As the global economy was on the brink of a catastrophic depression in 2008-9, the Labor government implemented one of the most effective stimulus packages in the industrialised world. The ALP …

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Letter from …Tirana

Alastair Campbell  |  12 November 2013

Last month the new government of Albania secured a landmark victory with a positive recommendation from the European commission for the country to win European Union candidate status. With the double-rejection of the previous administration’s bids, it indicates a new start for the country and reflects the wider positive changes coming out of Tirana since …

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Letter from … Sydney

Richard Angell  |  1 October 2013

Changing leader was enough to save key bits of furniture. The much-predicted domino effect in western Sydney never happened. But neither did the great seat pick-up in Queensland. Paradoxically, Kevin Rudd’s second stint as prime minister has secured the substantial achievements of Julia Gillard, both his successor and predecessor. The Liberals do not have a …

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