The Demise of Incumbents: Resurgence of the Far Right, Absence of the “Consequential Left”

Saturday, November 7, 2015
By Paul Martin

By Prof. James Petras
Global Research
November 07, 2015

Incumbent politicians and parties, both center-left and right, have suffered serious defeats in recent elections. The principal beneficiary has been the extreme right. Nowhere did the ‘consequential left’ register a victory, although in a few instances it marginally increased its vote. The one major exception has been Turkey, where the incumbent Erdogan regime scored a ‘victory’ on November 1, 2015 by resorting to widespread violence during the general election campaign to intimidate and silence his opposition after having suffered a sharp (and surprise) defeat five months earlier in June 2015 when secular civil groups, leftists and Kurdish linked parties upset Erdogan’S parliamentary majority.

During the recent campaign, Erdogan resumed bombing of Kurdish regions, both inside Turkey and across the border in Syria and Iraq. He shut down opposition newspapers and TV stations, and imprisoned hundreds of secular, leftist activists. Scores of opposition party regional offices were firebombed and wrecked. Most ominously, Erdogan and Turkish intelligence operatives have been implicated in the horrific massacre of scores of opposition peace marchers, leftists, trade unionists and Kurdish political party activists in the capital Ankara on October 10 and elsewhere. In other words, Erdogan prevented the electoral decline of his incumbent right-wing regime through terror, purges and mob violence. Washington and the EU promptly congratulated the Erdogan regime for its blood-stained ‘victory’.

This essay will address the reasons why incumbents lost worldwide. We will examine social policies, economic crises, personalities, corruption scandals, commodity cycles and growing class inequalities – and a combination of all of the above.

Secondly, we will discuss why the alternatives oscillate between the ‘center-left’ and the hard right and not the ‘consequential left (for lack of a better term)’ – the CL.

Thirdly, we will explore the historical and external and internal contemporary factors limiting the CL’s growth, and why the Left does not attract the mass of voters as an alternative to the Right and Center-left.

Center-Left and Right Incumbents in Retreat

The Rest…HERE

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