On today’s episode, the Estonian election and Macron’s cool guy big message for Europe. Ciarán is not sold. Hugh thinks the Estonian electoral system is interesting for some reason.

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Nonsense Section

Maybe resignation will increase my poll numbers

What happens when the center right joins forces with the cool nationalists? Finland has a example that maybe the likes of Spain should look to… Finland’s government resigned on Friday (www.nytimes.com, )over what PM Juha Sipila says is a failure to overhaul the social and health care in the country. This strikes me as an odd move since they have a scheduled election in April anyway (en.wikipedia.org )The government’s resignation would not change the timetable for next month’s elections, the justice ministry said. (apnews.com )Then I saw how Sipila’s party is polling, a cool 14% down from their 21% in the last election. The confusing Finns Party (en.wikipedia.org )was in the original collation before they split due to the a more extreme candidate winning their leadership. The defectors formed “Blue reform” and have half their parliamentary seats… but are now polling at ~1%. Apparently Finnish nationalists don’t like the more moderate government friendly version of themselves. ### Possibly heading for a deadlock SDP could win the election but the right to center right having most of the seats. With a big chunk again going to the Finns which apparently are now too extreme for the other center right parties to work with?

###Sipila is also out as party leader

“Juha Sipila, now heading a caretaker government in the Nordic country, told Finnish public broadcaster YLE that polls showing 14-percent support for the ruling Center Party meant “that I won’t for sure be running as a (chairman) candidate with that kind of support” at the 2020 party congress.”

apnews.com

###The reforms in question look shiiiite

The plan, which has been worked on by previous governments since 2006, is meant to tackle an aging population, improve efficiency and reduce public spending by 3 billion euros ($3.4 billions) by 2029. It pledged to offer Finnish municipalities and regions larger freedom to choose between public and private service providers for citizens’ social and health care.

apnews.com

Everyone excited for Tuesday?

It’s Brexit fun time again! There will be another vote on the deal with the EU for leaving, which is mostly expected to fail… but the government whips are saying it will be “tight” (www.bloomberg.com. )So who knows anymore


Topic 1

Estonia Parliamentary Elections

What’s the deal with weird family run parties?

People are shook by the growth of the Mart Helme nationalist vanity party, or EKRE as they like to me known (www.dw.com. )

Former ambassador to Russia leading an anti-West nationalist party might ring alarm bells in Trump-Russia conspiracy land but they’re against a possible border treaty with Russia because it moves their border further West in some places (news.postimees.ee )

They’re more of a European style direct democracy and less centralization wanting National Front style thing.

Just some chill Estonians that like having torchlight processions of their youth wing.

Mart’s son is also a super chill guy (news.err.ee )

Estonian election officials are the best

They have a really great website (www.valimised.ee )with result breakdowns in 3 languages

Internet voting

Looking at a results map makes it look like the EKRE did real well in terms of land mass… but mostly in rural areas. In the 3 Talin constituencies they were 10-11% against their performance of 17% nationally. Interestingly they did poorly with internet voting - generally under performing there. Now that’s either indicative of their voter base or some sort of conspiracy.

43% of people voted online.

They have a pretty reasonable explanation of their system and have a way of checking the server knows who you voted for with a smart phone. You can also cancel your online vote and go cast a paper one at any time… They also seem to have thought through the security reasonably well from a cryptographic point of view.. but I wouldn’t trust my own government to implement something so competent

##Simple Breakdown

  • Around 1 million eligible voters
  • Ten political parties and 15 independents — totaling 1,099 candidates — are up for election.
  • There are 101 seats up for grabs (51 for Majority) -Juri Ritas, former PM, led a 3 party coalition of Centre (ALDE), Reform Party (ALDE) and the Social Democrats (S&D)
  • Main Issues are Taxation, Healthcare, Braindrain and the non-EU labour quota (that last one is fascinating).

###Seats:

  • Reform ALDE 34 (up 4)
  • Centre ALDE 26 (down 1)
  • EKRE No EU party yet 19 (up 12)
  • Pro Patria EPP 12 (down 2)
  • Social Democratic S&D 10 (down 5)

###Current Sitch: Reform already attempted a two-party coalition with Centre. Centre said the party was too ultimatum-ish in their demands and that they disagreed on tax issues, they rejected the offer. Reform is now in talks with Pro Patria and Social Democratic party.

apnews.com en.wikipedia.org

###Chill comments from EKRE

Some of the party members have proposed a Europe-wide decriminalization of Holocaust denial and to “enter a correct teaching of the history of the Third Reich”

www.timesofisrael.com


Topic 2

Manu’s big letter

Published in every EU country - here’s the Guardian version (www.theguardian.com, )though I suppose the official government site is also fine (www.elysee.fr. )Or if you’re not bothered with Macron’s prose Politico had a summary article (www.politico.eu, )so did DW (www.dw.com )I don’t think his economic policies will create as much art as the actual European renaissance. They have a fun website (eu-renaissance.org )with a cheesy uplifting video. Did someone say pan European movement? If you thought Ciarán hated Volt…

There are a lot of hot takes (www.eurotopics.net )mostly cynical about the apparent lack of specifics, but I (Hugh) kind of disagree with that general take… also that it’s “fanning” any “populist” flames.

Smaller countries hate Macron EU wide protectionism

… because it’s just there to protect French large companies who have a great time in the EU single market but don’t want large multi-nationals to come in (i.e. spooky China). For smaller countries who don’t have any giant corporations this protection seems like a bad thing because it stops the EU blocking things like mergers allowing the French companies to grow even bigger (www.politico.eu )

AKK poo poos Manu EU Plan

Responding to Macron, Merkel protege warns against centralized EU reut.rs

Wauquiez, the leader of France’s 3rd most popular party, Les lets take money from Gadaffi and defraud the public coffers party I believe is their rebranding, also thinks it’s shit (www.politico.eu. )”We must exclude new enlargement”, and some shit about migration being bad…

Some other Germans think it’s cool - like the SPD and FDP (www.dw.com )

Other than her ‘teach Imams how to do Islam right’ and migration == bad attitude she makes some okay points I guess… (www.dw.com )

  • a permanent seat for the EU on the UN Security Council (sure)
  • the European Parliament should focus its work in Brussels, rather than alternating with Strasbourg (small potatoes but sure)
  • EU officials should no longer be exempt from national income tax. (they’re what now??)