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Democracy to win in France and Germany's elections thanks to Turkey

77 10 4

2017 is going to be a significant year for Europe as far as elections are conferenced and some of them has the potential of becoming important tests for democracy in the EU.

If the radical right tendency, which has gained grounds over the recent years, maintain its success, we might have even to bid farewell to the EU, and our only hope would be the victory of democracy and the EU values.

The radical right-wing parties are not only against the EU, but also contradicts its core values. We have all observed how problematic they can be in terms of human rights and in their policies towards refugees.

The radical right-wing parties and movements have also created a desperate situation surrounding Islamophobia and have inspired radical groups that have problems with Muslims and particularly Turks. This has resulted into an increased number of attacks on mosques, Muslim associations and Muslims themselves. The democrats are rightfully concerned about this grave picture.

Having escaped from the clutches of fascism in 1945, Europe today is bearing witness to its rebirth.

For this very reason, elections to be held this year in some EU countries, particularly in France and Germany, are of critical importance in the name of democracy. They are likely to determine the fate of the EU.

The first significant election will be held in the Netherlands, where Geert Wilders' radical right-wing, Party for Freedom (PVV), was expected to increase its vote share.

Wilders' party, with its policies against Islam, immigration, refugees and Euro-skepticism, poses a great threat to the EU democracy.

It is unfortunate that the Netherlands, which used to be an exemplary country for its democratic practices, has become a radical right stronghold today. The situation also shows what the EU has become. For now, our only hope concerning this election is the possibility of coalitions that would exclude radical right-wing ministers.

In Italy, after socialist Prime Minister Matteo Renzi lost the constitutional referendum in October 2016, early elections were expected to be held in February or early Spring of 2017. Since Italians refused Renzi's EU friendly route and economy policies, this election is also likely to pose some risks to the integrity of the EU.

Meanwhile, France will also hold a series of elections this year where French voters will elect the president and members of the parliament. Between April 23 and May 7, the presidential elections were to be held, while the general elections were scheduled between June 11 and 18. 43 million French voters will determine the fate of France and the entire EU.

Being governed under a state of emergency since November 2014, when the atrocious Paris attacks occurred, France has been focusing on the terrorism risk on its agenda and the presidential race will take place between Marine Le Pen, the leader of radical right National Front Party and François Fillon, the presidential candidate of the center right. Representing the conservative segment, Fillon is known for his dissidence to Turkey's EU membership and harsh stance against foreigners, particularly Muslims.

Both elections will dominate world agenda. If the absolute majority is reached at the first round, there will be no need for the second one. But it is not expected. Le Pen's vote share is increasing after every election. Consequently, the xenophobia and EU-skepticism were also on the rise in France. Even the socialist candidates kicked off an election propaganda by saying that they have problems with Muslims and Turks, too.

Meanwhile, Brussels is concerned about this tendency In France. Some circles started to express their concerns that if France follows Britain's path, it would be the end of the EU. In my opinion, however, France will not have such desperate election results. But it is certain that it would be harshly battled.

The most crucial elections in the EU are to be held in Germany. Over the course of the last two years, radical right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is achieving considerable success at every federal election and is on its way to form a strong group at Bundestag in 2017.

The presidential elections of Germany will be held on Feb. 12. This is the least perturbative elections among the others. It is estimated that Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to be elected as president. This would favor both Germany and the EU. However, it must be remembered that the German President only holds a symbolic position.

Then the election marathon is to begin in Germany. The elections were to held on March 26 in Saarland, on May 7 in Schleswig-Holstein and on May 14........

© Daily Sabah