By Yuba Nath Lamsal
The world recently saw some turns of events in the political landscape which are likely to have far-reaching impact in the global order. The change of guards in the 10 Downing Street, general elections in Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Israel, Brazil and the United States will definitely have their consequences both at home and abroad in multi-fold ways. Politics in Europe and North America has almost an identical trend. So were the election outcomes. However, the political trend in Latin American countries often tends to go a little different way and the election in Brazil is its manifestation.
London continues to suffer aftereffects of the Brexit since Britons chose to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. The far-rightist conservatives were particularly behind the Brexit bandwagon and they called the shots. Their principal argument was that Britain surrendered its sovereignty and interests in the name of European integration. However, many Britons now may be regretting as UK has entered a new cycle of political uncertainty and economic crisis. Its fallout is visible in the British politics as the UK saw five prime ministers—David Cameroon, Teresa May, Boris Jonson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak — in a period of five years. Last month, Giorgia Meloni, leader of Brothers of Italy party, took charge of political affairs as Italy’s first female prime minister following the general elections. Italy went to polls after prime minister Mario Draghi offered to quit over his failure to cobble up majority in parliament. The new Italian government is assortment of several right-winger parties. The rise of far-rightist in Italy is a bad omen not only for Italian politics but for the entire Europe.
Sweden, known as social democratic model in the world, seems to be deviating from the Nordic model and sliding to rightist path. In the general election held this year, the rightist coalition of the Moderate Party (Moderaterna), Sweden Democrats, Christian Democrats, and the Liberals together mustered majority in Rigstag, unicameral Swedish parliament, paving the way for Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson to assume Swedish premiership leading a rightist coalition government. However, Denmark polls went to traditional way retaining the left of the centre government headed by Social Democrat leader Mette Frederiksen. In the general election for the unicameral Folketing, the Red Block, a pre-poll alliance of the left and left of the center parties, won the majority.
Similarly, the election in Israel, a Jewish state in the Middle-East, took rightist turn. The election results for Knesset, Israeli parliament, paved the way for Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the rightist Likud party, to head hardliner coalition government in Jerusalem. The left leaning labour party has been pushed to political oblivion for at least until another election. Although the election has resolved the ongoing political ruckus for the time being, the new government is not likely to resolve the long running problems and instead is expected to further sharpen political divide in this Biblical holy land.
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the United States went to election for the Congress or the US parliament to select members of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of US Congress, and Senate, the powerful upper house of parliament. Congress elections are held in the United States in every two year in which all 435 members are elected from the 50 states. One third of the Senate members or 33 are elected in every two years.
According to US constitution, all states get two senators each irrespective of their physical and population size and the tenure of the senators is six years, whereas the tenure of the member of the House of Representatives is just two years. The number of representatives of the states is determined in every ten years following the national census on the basis of the population of each state. However, every state gets at least one representative but total number of House of Representatives should not exceed 435.
US global presence
However, Democrats retained their hold in both Houses, although the Republican Party, too, continues to have its strong presence. Since the Congress is the powerful institution in formulating laws, its make-up will definitely have impact both at home and abroad. In the US, Democrats are often seen as left leaning and Republicans as right winger. But in reality, both are rightists -- Democrats soft rightist and the Republicans hard-rightist. With US being the only superpower having global presence, its policies will definitely impact worldwide which, together with Europe, will definitely encourage right wingers across the world.
However, Brazil has shown the other way as left winger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and popularly known as Lula emerged victorious defeating right winger incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro in the recent presidential election. The South American politics is generally left-wing trend and Brazil has retained this trend. Brazil’s election outcome has sent ripples to Latin American politics also serving a blow to Washington. It seems the overall global politics is taking right-wing turn which may further accelerate polarisation of global politics and sharpening ideological divide. In the emerging multi-polar world, the sharpening political polarisation may be both boon and bane for the rest of the developing world.
(The author is former ambassador and former chief editor of this daily. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published in The Rising Nepal on Nov 16, 2022