Looking up: Europe is not going off-piste after all
Fears earlier this year, following the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom and the election in the United States of president Trump, that mainland Europe could also catch the “populism” virus have been assuaged. Recent elections in both the Netherlands and France saw conventional results and the defeat of extremist candidates.
Further confirmation that voters in Europe are rejecting populism came in the recent state election in North Rhine–Westphalia — Germany’s largest state by population and GDP — where chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU party gained at the expense of Martin Schulz’s centre-left SPD. The federal election in Germany in September is now also expected to see a conventional result.
Whether it will bring a return of the current grand coalition between the CDU and the SPD remains to be seen. More likely on present performance is a CDU coalition with smaller parties such as the liberal-centre FDP — but this requires that the FDP