By Nicky Dempsey
The main Portuguese trade union federation the Communist-led CGTP has called a one-day general strike for November 14 in response to the announcement of the government’s latest austerity measures.
The announcement follows huge mobilisations against government policies, in what were widely described as the largest demonstrations in Portugal since the revolution which overthrew the Caetano dictatorship in 1974.
In contrast to the leftist parties which have made advances in some European countries, the Dutch general election registered no progress for parties opposed to austerity or the left more generally.
Dutch voters go to the polls faced with a unique combination of the political and economic factors which have dominated Europe since the onset of the crisis.
By Jane West
After the elections in Western Europe in the first half of this year it is a good moment to take stock of the overall state of the class struggle in the region.
By Abelle Moreau
The outcome of the French elections marks a turn in the political situation in France, which will now play out with implications for all parties.
Francois Hollande’s ‘honeymoon’ with French voters has been one of the shortest on record.
Having run his election campaign claiming he would reject Sarkozy’s austerity policies and insist on a ‘growth strategy’ alongside debt reduction, no new policies have materialised.
The outcome of the Greek election means that the population will face further attacks on its living standards and that the economic crisis will be prolonged. SYRIZA, the only party that might have been able to form an anti-austerity government, came second with less than 3 per cent of the vote behind the victorious New Democracy. Given the Greek system of 50 top-up seats for the leading party and with the support of both the traditional social democrats of PASOK and from the Democratic Left (a rightist split from SYRIZA) the new government will have a large majority in Parliament. Whether it will be able to form a stable government is another matter.
The Greek general election of June 17 will be closely watched by all the main political forces and classes in Europe. It marks the next phase in the struggle against the offensive to cut wages, public services and the incomes of the poor in order to restore profits.
Workers and the oppressed throughout the whole of Europe and beyond have a direct interest in a victory for those parties that oppose the current offensive.
By Najete Michell
At last Sarkozy has been defeated! A relief for the French population after 5 years of a huge Thatcher-like offensive against the French welfare state, and the daily injection of racist and Islamophobic poison.
However, despite the opposition to Sarkozy, Hollande only won by 51.6 per cent and with only 1.1 million more votes than Sarkozy – a narrow victory, especially compared to what the polls had previously predicted.
The outcome of the Greek elections represents a decisive popular break with the politics of austerity. Persistent mass mobilisations over several years since the crisis began have resulted in a crushing defeat for the traditionally dominant parties in Greek politics. Parties who in different ways claimed to be opposed to the terms of the Greek bailout won a majority. After a prolonged period in Europe in which ruling parties carrying out cuts have been dumped at the first electoral opportunity, this is the first time since the crisis began that any country has registered a majority vote for parties against austerity.
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