Europe Tracker 03.09.12

The Guardian and The Independent: The decline in popularity of Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedon (PVV) in the Netherlands can be traced back to two months ago when a 63 year old Turkish man was attacked, and later died from his injuries. The couple who inflicted the injuries were named Henk and Ingrid, which are the names of the typical Dutch couple that Wilders had championed in public speeches. The PVV are also competing with the Socialist Party (SP) for their own voters. Despite opposing ideologies, the parties have similar economic policies, and are both popular in the South.

News AT: The Austrian Defence Minister Norbet Darabas has announced that there will be a referendum on conscription in January, with the hope of ending it by 2014. The leader of the FPO Heinz-Christian Strache predicts that the majority will vote to keep conscription as he views the army as an insurance policy.

Israel National News: A rabbi was attacked in Vienna by football supporters whilst police officers stood nearby and did not act, instead preferring to watch the assault.

Gaystar News: A campaign against gay marriage has been launched by the Italian far right Forza Nuova. The campaign slogan is “Italy needs sons and daughters, not homosexuals“.

The New York Times: Seven people were arrested during a protest against the conviction of the Russian music group ‘Pussy Riot’ in Marseilles for wearing balaclavas. They were found to be violated in 2011 law that has been nicknamed the ‘burqa bill‘ which banned the wearing of full-face veils in public places. The law was criticized for “depriving Muslim women of their rights”. Since April 2011 425 women have been fined for wearing the veils and 66 have been given warnings. The police are said to rarely enforce the law for risk of worsening ethnic tensions.

Focus: Two Serbian far-right groups, Dveri and SNP, will participate in local authorities. The SNP “made a ruling coalition in Arandjelovac, together with the Serbian Progressive Party, while Dveri will get a post of deputy chairperson in the Municipal Council of Novi Sad”.

Reuters: Religious radicalism is on the rise in the Russian Caucasus. Despite President Putin’s attempts to stem the spread of Islamic radicalism in the Caucasus through his support of mainstream clerics, it has been claimed that more and more young men have “gone to the forest – the local euphemism for joining insurgents in their hideouts”. While this may be perceived as some form of religious resurgence, some locals have claimed that rather this is a wish for change from the corruption of Russian officials, “like that seen in last year’s Egyptian revolution”.

BBC News: With a resurgence of the far-right in Russia and an increase in immigrant-targeted attacks, Tom Esslemont meets some of those behind the rise in Russia’s ultra-nationalist skinhead movement. “It is part of the lawlessness of Russia – a country where the armed ultra-nationalists seem to have almost been given free rein to take the law into their own hands.”

Polls via Electionista:

  •  Netherlands (polls average, 14 day change): VVD 34(+1) SP 31(-3) PvdA 21(+2) PVV 18(+1) CDA 14 D66 14 CU 6 GL 5 PvdD 3 SGP 2(-1) 50Plus 2
  • Sweden (polls average): S 34, M 29, Mp 9.1, Sd 6.7, Fp 6.1, V 5.8, C 4.2, Kd 3.7. A list of Swedish politcal parties is available here.
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