Anti-Islam Parties Big Winners in European Union
Anti-Islam parties scored big victories in European Union parliamentary voting that concluded Sunday. A record low voter turnout of only 43 percent helped the right wing parties enter the EU Parliament (EUP), while the conservative European People’s party retained its plurality, by a comfortable margin.
In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders' Freedom party won 17 percent of the country's votes, giving it four out of the country’s 25 seats in the 736-seat EUP. Its support placed it less than three percent behind the ruling Christian Democratic Alliance's showing.
Wilder has set off violent protests in the Muslim world because of his 15-minute film called Fitna, which links violence with the Koran. He also is working with Israeli Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) to expose violence in Islam.
In Britain, the white-only British National Party astonished analysts by winning two seats for the first time. The party opposes the presence of ethnic minorities in Britain and is against immigration.
The ruling Labor party of Prime Minister Gordon Brown won only approximately 15 percent of the vote, signaling a possible defeat in the next local elections.
Austria’s Freedom party doubled its strength since the 2004 elections, running on a platform with posters declaring "The Occident in Christian hands.” Party leader Nick Griffin said his victory was a vote for “indigenous people” who he said are victims of racial discrimination.
In Hungary, the right-wing Jobbik party, which describes itself as anti-immigration, won three of the country’s 22 seats in the EUP. In addition, the main center-right opposition party won 14 seats compared with only four seats for the ruling Socialist party.
Slovakia also elected a ultranationalist party to the EUP for the first time.
French president French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party scored an impressive victory, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party held on to the support it had in the previous elections.