(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
October 18, 2009
Election Results Reflect Recession Impact
R Arun Kumar
were held in four
important countries recently-Japan,
It is under these conditions of distress that elections were held in these four countries. These hard times were sure to be reflected in the election results.
conditions had contributed to the worst poll
performance of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in
victory is perceived in
The Japanese Communist Party (JCP) retained its seats in this bitterly contested election. The number of votes polled by the JCP also saw a marginal increase in these elections, reflecting the increasing acceptance of the JCP among the Japanese. It received 4.94 million votes, up from 4.91 million in the 2005 general election. Welcoming the result, Shii Kazuo, chairman of the JCP, self-critically stated, “it is true that we were unable to achieve our set goal (increasing the number of seats) and that we are not content with this result. I want to emphasise that with this recent general election, we are clearly on our way to become a stronger party”.
One distinguishing feature of this election is the rabidly pro-business FDP gaining 5 per cent vote and joining the ruling coalition. CDU too expressed their preference for them than the SPD. This would mean a further rightward shift.
Germans had expressed their disapproval of the CDU/CSU-SPD government policies and exercised their options by (i) absenting from the voting as visible from the low voter turnout (ii) voting for the Left parties that saw a substantial rise in their vote share (iii) voting against the SPD seeing it as a betrayer and for the FDP, impressed by the promises that they had made.
There are two positive outcomes from the German election. One, the increased representation of the Left in the German legislature and two, the failure of the Neo-nazis. They not only have failed to win a single seat but also saw a substantial reduction in their votes.
The people were thoroughly dissatisfied with the rule of the Socialists but were not ready to vote for the centre-right opposition. The setback for the PS, which lost its absolute majority, is a clear and unequivocal condemnation of the policies of the current government.
Socialists lost their majority as their vote share fell from 45 per cent to below 36.5 per cent and consequently its seats fell from 121 to 97 in an assembly of 230. The opposition PSD was able to win 29 per cent of the vote and its seats saw an increase from 75 to 81. The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) fought the elections in coalition (Democratic Unity Coalition, CDU) with the Greens. Their vote share increased marginally by 0.3 per cent from the previous elections. This is an increase of 12,805 votes and one seat. The PCP stated that the main objectives for these elections, “more votes, more influence, more members, loss of an absolute majority of the PS” were achieved.
general elections were
immediately followed by elections to the local bodies on 11 October.
results to these elections more or less reflected the results obtained
various parties in the general elections. The PCP secured around 11 per
the votes in these elections and strengthened its position in the
The KKE had self-critically reviewed the elections and had stated that it was not successful in translating its influence and struggles into concrete results in this election. Pointing to the similarities in the policies of the present ruling party and the party that it had disposed from power, it highlighted the need for people to be more vigilant and launch struggles to safeguard their interests.
Though these elections are held in four different countries and two different continents they have some important similarities amongst them.
these results have
shown that the governments cannot take the people for granted and
that suit the interests of the ruling classes. This holds true
this period of acute recession where the respective governments are
bothered about bailing out the big business rather than address the
the working classes. It is this warning that can be discerned from the
of two ruling parties in
elections in all
these countries were conducted in an atmosphere where vitriolic attacks
launched on the communists. There was an attempt to denigrate
communist parties by equating communism with fascism. In the entire
Union, an extensive campaign on these lines was carried out. A day was
out of the calendar to oppose the 'twin dangers of communism and
intensity of this campaign can be understood when we note the fact that
student was suspended from the school because he professed his
socialist ideology in
media, true to its
nature played its supportive role to the ruling classes in launching
attack. The media also continuously harped on the two-party system and
people to vote for either of the ruling class parties than go and vote
radical alternative-the communist Left. They had done this with a
intention of ensuring that the people do not strengthen the hands of
alternative to the capitalist system. It is oft repeated in the media
present problems that people are facing is not due to the inherent
the system as such, but due to the policies pursued by 'specific party'
so because of that 'specific individual'. They reduced these elections
contest between individuals instead of policies and programmes. They
divert the attention of the people by focusing on trivial/non-issues
than concentrate on the issues concerned with the livelihood of the
where was this more true than in
It was amidst these intense attacks that the communist parties of the said countries fought these elections and were successful in not only defending their previous achievements but also building on them (KKE saw a marginal dip). Another positive feature in these elections is the failure of the extreme right to gain on the discontent amongst the people.
The communist parties in all these countries have already carried out a preliminary review of these elections and have self-critically examined their performance. All of them have resolved to strengthen their respective parties, stand by the people and play the role of constructive opposition by taking up the issues of the people and organise struggles on them.