In late 2016, predictions of an earth-shattering so-called "populist" rise in Europe were constantly being made due to the July Brexit vote as well as Donald Trump's November victory in the U.S. presidential elections.
Both of these events had defied every major poll and projection, leading to suspicions that the numbers had been manipulated for ideological reasons.
However due to the British public's decision to leave the European Union and Trump's victory, a certain panic started taking over the narrative, a panic that predicted the rise of politicians such as France's Marine Le Pen, the Netherlands' Geert Wilders, Germany's Frauke Petry, and Austria's H.C. Strache and Norbert Hofer.
The first big fear came from the Netherlands, as many hoped or feared that Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) would become the ruling party in the country, thus yielding force over issues such as immigration, a key point seen as a significant problem by all of his other European allies and counterparts.
Wilders is noticeably more radical than any of his counterparts due to the fact that he has, for example, called for the shutting down of all Mosques, seeing them as the brewing grounds for new terrorists.
Although the PVV did gain some support in 2017, with 12.4 percent of the vote, it had a stronger showing in 2010, when it got 15.4 percent of the vote. In 2012, however, Wilders collapsed the coalition government and got 10.1 percent support in the elections that followed; so while "populism" has seen a slight rise in the Netherlands, the political viability of the party leading it has decreased due to the fact that it has alienated all potential coalition members.
The United Kingdom on the other hand is a different story.
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), formerly lead by Nigel Farage, was and is a one-issue party. It managed to shake the establishment enough to make the then government of David Cameron hold a referendum on membership with the EU, which resulted in his resignation and the rise of Theresa May to power, who help her own ill-fated election last May and managed to lose her majority.
Outside of the issue of Brexit, UKIP has historically struggled in parliamentary elections and has achieved very little in terms of seats.
Germany also held a federal election last September and has still failed to form a government. Angela Merkel's Party, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), had a very bad showing, losing 8.1 percent support and going down to 32.9 percent. The Social Democrats suffered their worst defeat in over half a century, getting 20.5 percent.The only real winner of the German elections was the four-year-old Eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD), the country's third largest party that won 12.6 percent of the vote and managed to get into the Bundestag, securing 94 seats.
Despite the AfD's success, its main figurehead, Frauke Petry, announced that she will not be taking one of these 94 seats, revealing in-party fighting between the nationalists and its more moderate members.
In Austria, after a struggle to pick the country's president in 2016, legislative elections were held in October, in which Sebastian Kurz of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) gathered 31.5 percent of the vote and went into a coalition with the more right-leaning Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and Heinz-Christian Strache, leaving behind the social democratic party lead by Christian Kern.
Chancellor Kurz also happens to be the world's youngest leader at 31.
The most high profile case of all elections in 2017 must've been that of France however.Le Pen's Front National, which was literally framed as an "existential threat" to the French Republic by her opponents, managed to get into the second round of the elections and face-off against independent candidate, Emmanuel Macron.
The National Front (FN) gathered 33.9 percent of the vote in the second round but was beaten by Macron's En Marche, which got 66.1 percent support. The party had been in this situation before back in 2002.
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