Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Europe: The Left of the Left

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Europe: The Left of the Left

Article excerpt

Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste

(New Anti-Capitalist Party)

Country: France

Leader: Olivier Besancenot (official spokesman, pictured below)

In February 2009, the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire was formally disbanded and reborn as the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste, with the intention of fighting the European elections in June. Aiming to unite the disparate movements of the far left, the NPA already boasts more than 9,000 registered members, compared to the 3,200 of the LCR when it was dissolved. Its official spokesman, Olivier Besancenot--the party has no leader--scored an impressive 4 per cent of votes in his two presidential campaigns, and commands an approval rating of 60 per cent among French people of all political persuasions.

Die Linke (The Left)

Country: Germany

Leaders: Oskar Lafontaine and Lothar Bisky

Formed in 2007 after a merger between the Party of Democratic Socialism and the Labour and Social Justice Electoral Alternative, Die Linke is now the fourth-largest party in the Bundestag, with 53 seats. The party has more than 76,000 members, but its popularity has dipped recently, with opinion polls ahead of September's federal elections putting support for it at roughly 10 per cent.

Socialist Party of the Netherlands

Leader: Agnes Kant

The SP arrived as a major political force when it won 25 seats in the 2006 general election--an increase of 16. It made further strides in the 2007 local elections, securing 54 provincial seats. With more than 50,000 members, the SP is now the third-largest party in the Netherlands.

SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left)

Country: Greece

Leader: Alekos Alavanos

Formed ahead of the 2004 general elections, SYRIZA caused a shock when it increased its vote by 120,000 in 2007. Its popularity peaked in 2008, when opinion polls put support at almost 20 per cent, taking it past Pasok, Greece's established left-of-centre party. …

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