Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
by Bjinse on Mon Apr 8th, 2019 at 09:46:03 PM EST
Polish opposition warns of 'Polexit' ahead of European vote
"Powerful PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has long been a fierce critic of the strong brand of EU federalism championed by EU powerhouses Germany and France. He is among a growing number of populist leaders in the EU advocating a reform agenda for the bloc that favours national sovereignty over federalism."

< pic teeth, suck vigorously >

"flextension" FTW? Looking good, eh.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Apr 9th, 2019 at 01:05:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Polish teachers launch nationwide strike
As part of an international rebellion by teachers, on Monday April 8, over 80 percent of Poland's 400,000 teachers joined an indefinite, nationwide walkout. This is the first national strike by teachers in the country in 25 years, and one of the biggest strikes in Poland over the past several decades. ... Outraged over the [Solidarity] union leadership's deal with the government, teachers from the Solidarity trade union joined the walkout across the country. Many nonunionized teachers also joined the strike.
purportedly, "PiS government ahead of the European elections in May, and the Polish parliamentary elections in the fall" did not properly hide $48B earmarked for arms spending.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Apr 9th, 2019 at 07:03:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Makes for a nice and sexy headline and possibly a catchy slogan for the Polish opposition (although 'poleaxing' has its merits).

The article body reminds that "Poles are overwhelmingly EU-enthusiastic, with nearly 90% backing membership of the bloc". Also: Poland is the biggest net recipient of the EU budget.

Don't mind me if I call bullshit on that one.

by Bernard on Thu Apr 11th, 2019 at 06:52:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Catalan officials charged with helping organize 2017 independence vote
The defendants in Tuesday's court session include aides to leading politicians in Catalonia's former pro-independence government. They face charges including misappropriation of funds and falsifying documents. Graver charges of rebellion and sedition, faced by the 12 now on trial, were not included.

The Barcelona court set joint bail at 5.8 million euros ($6.5 million) in total for 17 of the accused, an amount equal to the public funds allegedly misappropriated for the organization of the referendum, a court writ said.

archived exits
Democracy on trial
Extradition for embezzlement, rebellion, or both?
Should the EU intervene in Catalonia?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Apr 9th, 2019 at 02:37:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek conservative leader eyes EU vote victory, PM post in election by autumn
[CAPTION: Main opposition New Democracy [!] conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during an interview with Reuters at the party's headquarters in Athens, Greece, April 8, 2019. Picture taken April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis]
By implementing reforms, he says Greece can persuade its lenders, who still monitor the economy even after it officially exited its 280 billion euro financial crisis bailouts, to lower their targets and convince investors that it is out of the woods.

The 51-year-old scion of a powerful family of politicians considers Greece's post-bailout primary surplus targets "too high", but says that they must be respected "at least in the short term".

Greece Clears Debt-Relief Cash Hurdle With EU Commission Nod


archived SYRIZA
Tsipras says constitutional revision reflects will for reforms

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Apr 9th, 2019 at 02:49:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France needs tax cuts in response to 'yellow vests': PM, 8 Apr
"Giving the first conclusions of a 'Great National Debate'which was launched in January in response to the protests, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said French citizens had expressed 'an enormous exasperation' over the heavy tax burden. 'The debates show us very clearly which way to go. We need to lower taxes, and lower them more quickly,' he told an audience in Paris.'"

French Senate cancels controversial meeting with Yellow Vest protesters, 9 Apr
"French President Emmanuel Macron's administration has made no secret of its displeasure with the Senate for extending an invitation to Drouet and the other delegation members."

archived Acte XXI
French [?!] yellow vest protesters hit streets for 21st weekend

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Apr 9th, 2019 at 07:45:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be specific: the meeting Drouet was invited to by the Senate was to discussed the controversial giveaway privatization of the Paris airports. The Yellow Vests do protest, among other things, about the unfair tax burden (tax cuts for the rich, more taxes for the rest) and the abandonment of public services in the name of "competitiveness" (see tax cuts above) such as privatizing highly profitable state assets like the airports.

The "Macron's administration" official who pressured the Senate to disinvite Drouet was no one else than Bruno Le Maire, minister for the Economy and, back in 2005, the architect of the privatization of the state owned tollways companies, sold to Vinci, one of their most profitable businesses today.

Some senators stepped out of the Senate building to meet with Drouet on the street and apologize for the majority's behavior.

by Bernard on Thu Apr 11th, 2019 at 06:35:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU to launch 'direct democracy' petitions service
With the new system, which is expected to come in from January 2020, launching an initiative and collecting signatures will be done via the free central online register - reducing the paperwork campaigns will have to deal with themselves.
Don Brussels says this puts the European citizenry on a par with the European Parliament and European Council, who also only have the power to ask the Commission to initiate EU legislation. The Commission is under no obligation to actually legislate in response to a petition, but must examine the issue raised.

EU Citizens Push for Better Wages for Gig* Economy Workers
Initiative organizers have a year to collect
From low trust in institutions to the rise of 'critical citizenship'?
[4] "political participation"
WeEuropeans.eu "Citizen Agenda"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Apr 9th, 2019 at 03:31:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MPs call for review of 'derisory' Windrush compensation scheme
"Is this the price that you put on my constituents being deported for no wrongdoing? Is this how this government values the lives of black Britons?": many of the concerns  based on a misunderstanding

UK to pay up to £200m in compensation to Windrush victims

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Apr 10th, 2019 at 02:09:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU, China agree on joint statement as Beijing makes last-ditch concessions

Full Text: List of Outcomes of the 19th China-EU Summit

archived diplomacy
LEAK: Europe puts pressure on Beijing ahead of EU-China summit
"rules to scale back subsidies and the forced transfer [?] of technology to China, as well as the elimination of all market barriers to European investors"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Apr 10th, 2019 at 01:47:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU-U.S. Trade War Escalates Over Disputed Aviation Subsidies
The two sets of punitive measures are the latest twists in a 14-year-old dispute that the U.S. and EU have fought at the World Trade Organization, with each side accusing the other of illegally subsidizing their main aircraft makers. President Donald Trump's administration on Monday said it would impose tariffs on $11 billion in imports from the EU because of the European aid.

< yawn >

gonna make that up in NOx-mobiles

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Apr 10th, 2019 at 06:47:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China agrees to buy 320 Airbus A320 planes, 10 A350s, 25 March 2019
EU threatens US with €19 billion of tariffs in response to Boeing subsidies, 12 April 2019
"It is part of the preparatory work to respond to US subsidies given by Washington State to Boeing, in the long WTO dispute between the EU and US for the financial aid they provided to their plane makers."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Apr 14th, 2019 at 12:28:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AP | EU threatens to tax $20 billion $21.48B of US goods over Boeing aid

parity watch: EUR:USD, 1:1.1305

Can I get a buck twenty even up in here?! GO TRUMP! BIGLY!!!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Apr 17th, 2019 at 05:34:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
parity watch: EUR:SEK, 1:10.4529
cheaper 'n RMB, yo. needs moar growths.

SPUTNIK | Free Fall of Swedish Krona Compared With 'Countries After Coup d'Etat'
well sourced with third-parties, notably Riksbank-Nordea forward-looking statement, including heh heh heh honorable mention of Zygmunt "until further notice" Bauman.

OOPS. Sweden Exports By Country in U.S. dollars, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 02:15:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The SEK was lower than this during the economic crisis, due to the flight to stability phenomenon. It has been pretty stable around 10,5 vs the euro for a year.

Unless and until Sweden decides to join the euro (a prospect that last poll I saw had support for in single digits), the currency will float. Sputnik chooses the reference point to compare with when the euro was at its weakest in 2012, but that was not because the krona was strong, it was because the eurozone being in crisis.

Russian media's narrative regarding Sweden is mainly the standard "Western country in unmasculine decline", which they serve whether it fits the occasion or not, sometimes flavoured with Charles XII references.

by fjallstrom on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 06:02:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I pointed to third-pary sources linked in the article.

What do you have?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 07:12:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That said, an argument for indifference, SEK devaluation relative to EUR, USD, RMB, or RUB for that matter, given current trade balance and domestic demand.

Swedish economy isn't exactly Egyptian economy, for example, is it?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 07:18:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by generic on Thu Apr 11th, 2019 at 09:41:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone knows it is really about the US grand jury investigation into the Manning leak, presumably on espionage charges.

But I am still curious, what is the punishment for jumping bail in the UK? Can he pay a fine and get on the evening train to France?

The Swedish case is closed. It can be reopened, as it was closed due to being unable to advance the case as the accused had fled to Equador. That takes time though, so I don't think it will be relevant.

by fjallstrom on Thu Apr 11th, 2019 at 10:30:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
will protect neither Assange nor you.

Assume nothing: That is the lesson one ought to have learned well from the last two years of Trump "media" + Brexit "negotiation" + the prior 10 years disposition of the Panic of '08, including precious Greece + 20 or so generations of indoctrination from westworld Enlightenment and the "politics of" ... avocados.

The elite to whom some persons pledge allegiance do not rule by law.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Apr 11th, 2019 at 11:34:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As always, the "special relationship" will ensure that some agency definitely NOT affiliated with SIS or MOD will keep him on ice until he can be properly bagged and delivered out the back door into the alley to a white cargo van with "USAID" written on its side.
by rifek on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 06:17:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nevermind, the US has released its charges and demands extradition.

According to court documents unsealed today, the charge relates to Assange's alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.

The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.

During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning's transmission of classified records to Assange. The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that "after this upload, that's all I really have got left." To which Assange replied, "curious eyes never run dry in my experience."

Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

by fjallstrom on Thu Apr 11th, 2019 at 02:02:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Try to act surprised.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Apr 11th, 2019 at 02:20:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lawyer pushing to reopen the Swedish case:

Lawyer says to push for Sweden to reopen Assange investigation

by Bernard on Thu Apr 11th, 2019 at 06:57:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the end, I think it is up to the prosecutor to issue a new European Arrest Warrant. But that would make things interesting.

I have some vague memory, that I fail to confirm, that an EAW comes before extradition to a third country. And while the extradition process to the US has only begun, the extradition process to Sweden has already gone through the courts. And if he is extradited to Sweden he can then (under the rules of Speciality) only be extradited to a third country if both UK and Sweden approves.

I also think that if he is extradited to Sweden, he will not be convicted. Rape cases are hard to prove, a nine year old case doesn't make it easier. Also, and unlike some cases, a rape case is something the courts are used to and have a lot of settled law in. So it would be very hard to get a conviction for the sake of convenience.

So my guess is that pressure will be applied so that an EAW isn't issued.

by fjallstrom on Thu Apr 11th, 2019 at 07:42:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by generic on Thu Apr 11th, 2019 at 09:27:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WHEREAS THE UK PARLIAMENT IS RECESSED, Guardian fondles slack in de basement of intrigues.

Labour row breaks out over Assange sexual assault allegations

More than 70 MPs and peers have written to Javid and the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, urging them to focus attention on the earlier Swedish investigations that Assange would face should the case be resumed at the alleged victim's request.
this.empowerment(dead letters)
The parliamentarians' letter is a pointed counter to Abbott's comments earlier on Friday when she said Assange's current detention was not about "the rape charges, serious as they are, it is about WikiLeaks and all of that embarrassing information about the activities of the American military and security services that was made public."

The letter to Javid and Abbott points out that time is limited for the UK to provide assistance to Sweden, given the allegation of rape has a limitation period which expires in August 2020.

Labour row breaks out over Assange sexual assault allegations
"[Abbottt] urged Theresa May [!] to intervene in the same way she had in the case of computer hacker Gary McKinnon, when in 2012 as home secretary she halted his extradition to the US on human rights grounds; doctors had warned McKinnon was at risk of suicide if sent for trial in the US."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Apr 12th, 2019 at 07:54:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I stand with other's victims.

by generic on Sat Apr 13th, 2019 at 12:33:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sunday, 14 April
YLE is funded in part or in whole by Finland government.

Finns Party sprints to second place, SDP hangs on in first, 11 April

Scuffles, suspected assault at Helsinki election event

Police said there had been unruly behaviour on Friday around the populist Finnish Nation First party's booth.
Aggression on campaign trail

Earlier in the week, police said they were looking into whether the party's anti-immigrant and anti-gay posters constitute criminal incitement.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Apr 14th, 2019 at 12:51:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
YLE is funded in part or in whole by Finland government.

SDP takes top spot, populists rally, heavy losses for PM's Centre in Finnish election

An upstart in the race according to media polls, the Finns Party made good on pre-election polling and staged a strong finish with 17.5 percent of the vote. Immigration hardliner and party chair Jussi Halla-aho had previously had said he wanted to take the party into the next government.
The centre-left Social Democratic Party managed a razor thin lead over its rivals, snapping up 17.7 percent of ballots cast, one of its poorest election outcomes ever. But that was enough for the Social Democrats to increase their parliamentary presence by six seats to 40, likely giving the party the mandate to initiate government formation talks.
The NCP [National Coalition Party] ended the evening with 17 percent voter support, just trailing the populist Finns Party. The SDP and the NCP have not always seen eye-to-eye, but party chair Petteri Orpo did not rule out both parties cooperating in government.
The overall voter turnout was 72 percent, up from 70 percent in the last general election in 2015. Korpinen told Yle that the outcome reflects the highly polarised nature of the election. "It's going to be very hard to negotiate a government, maybe the hardest ever. Anything can happen."

The election has seated a record number of female MPs in the Finnish parliament. This year women will take up 92 positions as lawmakers, up from the previous record of 85 in 2011. In addition, this year saw more women than ever among the top vote-getters.

a festival of government

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Apr 14th, 2019 at 10:21:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
YLE is funded in part or in whole by Finland government.

Finnish parties unveil EU election candidates, Soini quits politics

The number of so-called 'double candidates' indicates that the parties have had difficulties attracting enough candidates for the back-to-back elections, says University of Helsinki political science researcher Antti Ronkainen.
[utgoing foreign minister Timo] Soini co-founded the nationalist Finns Party, the second largest bloc in the new Finnish Parliament, but left the party two years to join the breakaway Blue Reform party - which did not win a single seat in last weekend's election. The party has vowed to press ahead anyway, but suffered a blow as Soini announced in a Thursday blog post that he is leaving politics.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 07:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A minor point about YLE funding: If by government you mean parliament, you're absolutely correct. If you mean government can control YLE by controlling it's funding, that's not correct.

The rumor has been for a long time that ever since Mr. Soini became foreign minister, he gave up his party ambitions. As a populist that was the zenith of his career. Even more so now that his party was taken away from him.

Of course the Blue Future was hoping to get him on the list, since in our system being elected to EU parliament doen't mean you have to take the position. This is why many well recognized members of Finnish parliament are also running for EU parliament -- they are running only to get votes for the party and make sure the "real candidate" gets the seat. Even if it means refusing a seat.

Now it's even more complicated, because the big names in many parties are hoping for ministerial positions in Finland and won't commit to EU. On the other hand, the parties are afraid people are not interested in voting again so soon, so they need the big names in campaign.

by pelgus on Fri Apr 19th, 2019 at 12:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough!

I apply GOOG/YouTube formula that identifies suspect publishers of "misinformation" or "fake news" or "propaganda" in receipt of any amount of funding from public offices for their operations.

Because ahh applied research amuses me.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Apr 19th, 2019 at 12:58:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Live Blog: 2019 Finnish Election - Europe Elects

Some takeaways, SDP (S&D) dropped much more and Perussuomalaiset (ECR) rose somewhat more than I anticipated. Vihreät (G/EFA) were an overall lackluster compred to expectetations. Still, the winners of the elections are without a doubt SDP, Vihreät and Vasemmistoliitto (GUE/NGL), who all managed to increase their support compared to the 2015 elections.

by generic on Sun Apr 14th, 2019 at 10:00:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The dynamics of Finnish politics has changed with the rise of the far right True Finn party (PS), but old structures usually persist, so my guess would be that the rural Centre (Kesk) prefers to go into opposition. That leaves the conservative Kok and social democratic SDP as the possible coalition, and then would need to add at least the Greens, Vihre. That still leaves them short of a majority, but since PS is out, they can invite back in the Swedish minority party SFP.

The only other combination I see is Kesk+Kok+PS. That would be the same coalition as after last election, so it would seem reasonable. But the PS that entered the coalition after last election can now be found as Blue Reform (Sin), after a change in leadership and a party split in PS. After the split Blue Reform was formed from the parliamentarians loyal to the old leadership, and they continued in government. Given that, and the losses for Kesk and that SDP is the largest party, I think this coalition is less likely.

To me, the biggest surprise is how lousy Blue Reform performed. I thought the old leadership of PS would retain some support, but apparently brand name trumps everything.

by fjallstrom on Sun Apr 14th, 2019 at 11:30:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say the actual shift in these elections was clear turn to left, although it's rather difficult to assess the degree of the turn. The most obvious sign is that the left-wing parties (Social Democrats and Left Coalition) gained seats. It was the first successful campaign for the Left Coalition in 25 years (their chairperson is the most popular Finnish politician). If one counts the Greens as leftist party (and the right-wing parties do!), the left gained 16 seats in the parliament. So there actually was a shift of 32 seats towards the left of political spectrum in a 200 seat parliament.

Now, the much difficult shift to gauge is the one internal for parties. During last night several talking heads in telly did mention that the Social Democrats were forced to move towards left during the campaign to gain traction in their own base. And at the same time the conservatives, Coalition Party, has been loosing ground in the local elections to the Green party and it could be their social liberal wing is gaining upper hand over their market liberal wing to respond to the threat from Greens.

A god example of this phenomenoma is the mayor of Helsinki, who represents the old guard of Coalition Party, but has gone all pro-LGTB and socially conscious conservative to collaborate with and stand ground against the Greens in Helsinki. The market liberal wing of Coalition Party hates him, since he had a big part in destroying their wet dream of privatizing health care by publicly opposing the policy and getting other big cities to oppose it too. Now, whether he's building his own base for possible presidency, or just honestly defending his city against idiots of his own party is anybody's guess. Anyway, last night Coalition Party leadership seemed to accept a future in opposition, where they may need to fight True Finns for spotlight. They do have the most loyal voter base, though.

While the Greens may have forced the center-right to move slightly towards center, it's difficult to say where they stand themselves. The party makes a lot of noise about being "above" the left-right divide. The group making most of the noise are mainly liberals who found a new home in Greens sometime in the early 90's. Somehow they managed capture the party leadership to the extend that many took the party as a "gardening division of the Coalition Party".

On the other hand, the Greens also have a wing that is aligned quite well with the Left Coalition, but that wing is slowly leaking into the Left Coalition, since that party is about as urbanite green as the Greens themselves. And yet, the base of the party probably is mostly center-left, and so seem to be the party's new members of parliament when skimming trough their personal alignments and stands (all medias in Finland invite all candidates to answer questionnaires that try define where they stand in different issues and electorate can then take the same quiz to find candidates that best correspond to their answers). Basically they seem to be against austerity and for equality in society, but don't really agree on how to get there.

The Center party was decimated, it was their worst performance in over 100 years, and it's quite obvious it was because they did lead the most right-wing government in Finland since 1920's. It seems that their base mostly stayed at home. The chairperson and former prime minister is both a somewhat randian and a devout christian (in a love thy neighbourgh way), so was very confused in his policies and was relatively easy for the Coalition Party to turn to the dark side. By taking the True Finns to his government he also managed to make racism and hate "allowed" in Finland, which most people find hard to forgive him and the Central Party.

The true True Finns (after a minor split to Blue Future, that basically disappeared in the election) managed to held onto their seats, even though many predicted their base to be absent. They remain the second biggest party in the parliament, but several other parties have already declared them to be unsuitable for collaboration. Considering that their main issue is migration policy based on the 2016 refugee masses that have completely disappeared, they really don't have anything there to offer except irrational fears that prevent any decent discussion about migration. They also don't believe in climate change, unlike all the other parties, so there's no common ground there, either. They are also mostly against Euro and EU...well, being populists, they are basically against things, so there's really no fertile ground to form a government program with them. Unless they are willing to lose a big chunk of their base in a collision with reality.

Finally the Social Democrats. It's way too early to say if they will experience this drift to the left, too. They "won" the election becoming the biggest party in parliament, by one seat. As said earlier, they did have to present themselves as more leftists to gain back some of their base. Their most popular candidate is actually aligned more closely to Left Coalition than her own party. And she's not the only one. I guess a rule of thumb could be that members from big cities tend to be more left (or even communist!), from small cities more aligned with right, and from rural areas they are quite centrist (as in aligning  with Center Party agrarian politics).
The current leader comes from labor unions, which have a strong presense in the party. The problem with that is that labor unions have amassed huge fortunes to use for imbursing strikers. Absent of any long strikes, the unions tend to press the party for policies that add to the unions wealth. In other words, not really benefiting the party base.

There's yet a minor possibility, that in today's verification count Social Democrats may loose a seat to Center Party in Western Finland district. Yesterdays count was preliminary, the results are not valid until every vote has been counted again. Usually the preliminary results stand as is, but sometimes the d'Hondt system produces oddities. For example in Lapland, the second most popular candidate, from Greens, did not make it to the parliament, loosing to a Center Party candidate who got only half of her personal votes. There's already a suggestion to change the system for smaller districts (by population) to make it easier for small parties to succeed.

And sorry about the wall of text. I've been lurking here for years, but rarely have had anything to add to the discussion. It seems I did it now all at once...

by pelgus on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 01:49:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you Pelgus for that insightful analysis!

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 04:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the wall of text.

What I meant with the rise of the True Finns, was that before 2011 Finnish cabinet formation was rather predictable, with the largest of the big three taking the lead and negotiating an agreement with the one of the other two that was less perceived as the loser. And then add the Swedish People's party, and more minor parties as needed for a stable majority. I am sure this is a simplified model, but was rather accurate until 2011.

But nevermind that, how do you see cabinet formation unfolding? If the Coalition party is aiming for opposition, who do the Social Democrats form coalition with? The decimated Centre? The True Finns? Or a minority coalition?

by fjallstrom on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 08:19:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks! Here's another wall, even if not requested...

You're right about the predictable "old way", as it has been described multiple times by political commentators lately: three big parties, two in government, one in opposition. In this decade both True Finns and Greens have pushed into that "big parties" group, although the Greens still do better in local elections than national.

Mainly because of this everybody was saying in election night that it will be very difficult to form a government, and it will take time, skill and perseverance. References to Sweden's latest process were abundant.

The morning after elections True Finns were making a lot of conciliatory and compromising noises. Then Social Democrats slipped that they had been in contact with some other parties since autumn about possible new government. True Finns immediately figured out that they were not one of those parties, and were infuriated.

Meanwhile the Center party made a big show of "the people" making clear they should be in the opposition, but then Jyrki Sipilä resigned his chairmanship. He was the biggest hurdle for the Center party to come to the new government, so all those "to the opposition" voices faded away immediately. In media people in the Center parties strongest support areas said that they voted for True Finns or Left Coalition since they didn't want their vote to go to Sipilä "or that Berner", Sipilä's privatization-grazed minister of traffic and telecommunications. Berner, though, wasn't a candidate since she's leaving politics to be a board member of SEB, one of the biggest banks in Sweden.

The base and most of the members in the Center party wanted to rule with Social Democrats already in 2015, but the party leadership obviously wasn't listening. I guess now they might be.

The Greens and Left Coalition have not said anything certain, but they do have an air around them of being the parties the Social Democrats have been in contact for a half a year. Their propositions for the policy of the new government don't sound like a starting point for negotiations, but more like statements of reached consensus.

The Coalition party has been more difficult to figure out. They do act almost like they won in the election, although they avoided defeat mainly because Center party did so poorly. They did loose votes, but gained a seat because Center party lost so many that even other losers got some of the spoils. Coalition party was talking about being able to cooperate with any other party. Which raised some eyebrows, because during the True Finns-Blue Future split they said that True Finns had "incompatible values". Apparently those values are now compatible.

Anyway, after Sipilä resigned and Center party came back to the game, Coalition party's stance has hardened. Their play seems to be opening the distance to have ground to give up in the negotiations while pretending to their base that the voters did not reject their (failed) policies.

Everybody seems to be betting that True Finns will be opposition. Not least because the leader of the Social Democrats has repeated many times that he sees no common ground for the two parties. Neither Center party or Coalition party really wants to be in opposition with True Finns, which would be the biggest opposition party and with a right-wing populist agenda. Center party probably abhors that situation more than Coalition party.

So, my hunch at the moment is that there's already been a pre-election preparations for "reddish green" core for the coming government, and the negotiations are more about getting Center party on board than anything else.  Last time Social Democrats were in government with Coalition party, they suffered the same fate Center party suffered this election. After finally making it back they may not have appetite for a renewal.

For Finland SD with Center party governments used to be the norm, mockingly known as "red earth" (punamulta/rödmylla) government. They also likely would prefer to have Swedish National Party in government too, just to be sure. This combination is colloquially know as "national front" government. There might even be space left for Christian Democrats, so they wouldn't have to be in opposition with the right wing parties.

The Social Democrats have already named their negotiators, and will send a questionnaire to other parties right after Easter. They expect replies by the end of the month, and after reviewing the answer will announce the parties selected for negotiations. They plan to make it fast, so that the new government can start at the beginning of June. In July Finland will take the Presidency of the EU Council, so they want the ministers to be ready for that in time.

The published schedule is tight, which gives substance to the idea that there already is an agreement between left parties and Greens.

by pelgus on Fri Apr 19th, 2019 at 12:11:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Acte XXII: Sarwar and Betty Boop

Bloomberg understated "ahead of Macron", NYT belligerent "as Macron prepares" policy. REUTERS splits the difference of 31K weekend turnout cross-country.
Clashes erupt in yellow vest protests as Macron prepares policy response

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Apr 14th, 2019 at 11:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Cédric Herpson - video

by Oui on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 05:36:17 PM EST
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Notre-Dame fire: Paris' historic cathedral ravaged by major blaze
Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral was ablaze on Monday evening, with flames pictured leaping from the roof of the historic building, before the iconic spire collapsed along with the central roof. Follow the latest here.

The fire broke out at the landmark cathedral in central Paris on Monday afternoon, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said.

The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year, where renovations are currently underway.

A cathedral spokesperson said the roof of Notre-Dame 'is going up in flames'. The roof later collapsed along with the cathedral's iconic spire.

Meanwhile neighbours living in the vicinity had to be evacuated.

On a side note, Macron was due to give an address on national TV tonight at 20:00 (grand debate conclusions, how to quell the gilets jaunes grievances). It has been postponed and the prez is reportedly going to the site of the 850-year old lady who has clearly upstaged him.

by Bernard on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 06:20:42 PM EST
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The highest spire has collapsed.

The carpentry work (13th century) is pretty much all consumed. There were important renovation works on the side of the building which was enveloped in scaffolding. Fire might be related to this construction work, but that's speculation, of course.

The whole of Île de la Cité has reportedly been evacuated.

by Bernard on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 06:29:37 PM EST
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Damn, awful loss. Unbelievable.

Here a technical Twitter thread.

by das monde on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 07:10:51 PM EST
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An historic blaze ... note the date. Throughout history there have been many destructive fires ... I recall a blaze in 1972 of the St. Rombouts cathedral in Mechelen in Belgium.

So often large fires start through carelessness on roof repair work. This blaze started mid-ship where scaffolding was in place for renovation. I just don't understand where such a precious monument is at stake, the precautionary measures are insufficiënt.

Fortunately no lives were lost ... a monumental loss, so unnecessary. 😢

by Oui on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 09:36:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
jobs saved or created

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Apr 16th, 2019 at 03:54:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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