Monday 20 February 2017

Sinn Fein credentials remain dubious

Extremist politicians have gained ground across Europe but their chances of having real power remain slim

Published 01/06/2014 | 02:30

Nationalists attend the unveiling of a mural in honour of Gerry Adams in the Falls Road, Belfast
Nationalists attend the unveiling of a mural in honour of Gerry Adams in the Falls Road, Belfast
UKIP leader Nigel Farage celebrates with local councillors in South Ockenden, England
Far right party National Front leader Marine Le Pen

There is no little concern across Europe about the rise of extremist and even anti-democratic forces. Last week's Europe-wide election results show that the threat is over-stated in most countries, but under-stated in this country.

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In the European Parliament elections across 28 countries, as in most others since the economic crisis erupted in 2008, the most prevalent trend has been anti-incumbent, not pro-extremist, a point underscored by two Trinity College political scientists, Gail McElroy and Michael Marsh, in detailed presentations on the Europe-wide results in Dublin last week.

Of the 28 countries in the EU, most saw no significant increase in extremist parties in last weekend's votes. Some – Italy, the Netherlands and Finland for instance – saw support for moderate centrists increase and the extremist-tending parties, which have risen to prominence in recent times, falling below expectations.

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