Recently there have been a spate of shocking election and referendum results around the globe. Living in the “American bubble,” sometimes we are inclined to think that we are the only country facing this kind of discrimination and structural inequality. Spoiler alert: We are not! All around the world, discrimination and income inequality exist and have been affecting elections and referendums this year.
November 8, 2016 — All the world’s eyes were on the American Presidential Election as Donald Trump pulled off a shocking upset over Hilary Clinton. The media and the country were left asking “why?”
Over the last decade, the previous administration’s focus was on empowering and providing for the more disadvantaged portion of the American population: LGBTQ rights, poverty alleviation, refugee acceptance, women’s rights, etc. The more traditionally advantaged members of the population — aka those who live in the middle of the country, those whose families immigrated to America more than two generations ago, those who feel that immigration has stolen “their” jobs –- they were anxious for a change and were ready to be “in power” again. This portion of the population voted for the figure they felt best represented them and their views: the all-American Donald Trump with his harsh immigration reform and promise to “Make America Great Again.”
June 23, 2016 –- A referendum –- a vote in which everyone of voting age can take part — was held to decide whether the United Kingdom should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 51.9% to 48.1%.
This vote was dubbed “Brexit” – meaning “British exit.” The UK is now in the process of invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which gives the two sides two years to agree to the terms of the split. That process was started on March 29, 2017 — which means that the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.
I previously described the ease of inter-EU travel. This has led to increased immigration from the poorer EU nations into the more developed European countries, such as the UK, France and Germany. Xenophobia and the thought of immigrants stealing “their” jobs led to an extreme result in this referendum, whose effects are still to come.
France and Germany
These two developed nations of the EU have elections coming up in 2017, April 23 for France and September 24 for Germany.
In France, for the first time in 15 years, the far-right National Front has a good chance of winning the presidential race under Marine Le Pen, according to the BBC. In Germany, the far-right “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) party has gained momentum after the migrant crisis and Brexit. While it seems likely that Chancellor Angela Merkel will stand for reelection, there is a chance the AfD or SDP (in the form of Former European Parliament President Martin Schulz) will unseat her.
These two countries have historically been amongst the most developed in the European Union and their “open-door migration” policies, coupled with the uncertain times the world is facing in regards to terrorism, have led to indecision about how the countries should be run in the future. We have seen how these issues have affected the elections and referendums in the United States and the United Kingdom; now all eyes will be on France and Germany to see if they will fall victim as well.
Following the April 23 election, Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen on May 7, 2017.
Macron won 66.1% of the popular vote, compared to Le Pen’s 33.9%. According to Sud Ouest, a French newspaper: “this was the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic that the runoff [second round of elections] did not include a nominee of the traditional left or right parties.”
Nevertheless, Macron was officially proclaimed President by the Constitutional Council on May 10; although, the result was conceded by early estimations on May 7.
Some may doubt Macron’s prowess, given his former investment banking background, but the effects of his Presidency have yet to be seen. Let’s give him 100 jours and see what happens.
Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.