Racism in European elections

Racism in European elections


Written by: Institute of Race Relations

A report on the role that racism has played in recent elections and electioneering across Europe has just been published by the IRR.

Focusing on the French presidential election and the general and provincial elections in the Netherlands, the special issue of the European Race Bulletin also covers twenty-one other countries and the European Parliament. It discusses the results of the extreme Right, the impact of anti-immigration parties, debates on citizenship, asylum and integration. Disturbing instances of debates over national values descending into McCarthyite-style witch hunts and hysteria against Muslim communities – the hijab and the building of minarets in particular – being whipped up by extreme-Right groups are also revealed.

Author Liz Fekete produces evidence from Europe that puts into question the Labour Party fear (articulated through minister Liam Byrne) that the issue of immigration, unless dealt with robustly, could cost New Labour the next election. She argues that in countries such as Spain and Italy, centre-Left parties which have backed regularisation campaigns for the undocumented or modest immigration reforms have been returned to office. In Denmark, for years in thrall to the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, there is now a growing popular demand for a more humane approach to failed asylum seekers. In the Netherlands where the Labour Party (PvdA), emboldened by a shift in public opinion about migrants and asylum seekers (a backlash against hard-line interior minister Rita Verdonk), supported a freeze on deportations and an amnesty for 25,000 failed asylum seekers, it lost no support in the 2006 elections and is now the second largest party in the coalition government.

Related links

Order and read online the Election special – issue no. 60 of the European Race Bulletin

Order a print copy or a one year subscription

IRR European Race Bulletin back issues

The Election special is issue No. 60 of the IRR European Race Bulletin.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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