“Episode V: The Left Strikes Back”

(The Grand) Napoleon
Time Slot: 
Wednesday 23rd March 09:00 - 10:30
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr Arianna Giovannini (De Montfort University)
Panel Discussant: 
  • Awaiting details of this person
Panel Members: 
  • Dr Luis Ramiro (University of Leicester)
  • Dr Georgios Karyotis (University of Glasgow)
  • Dr Wolfgang Rudig (University of Strathclyde)
  • Dr Niccole Pamphilis (University of Glasgow)
  • Miss Cristina Cremonesi (Università degli Studi di Pavia)
  • Dr Stefano Rombi (University of Cagliari)

The SNP’s landslide victory in Scotland at the UK general elections in May 2015; Podemos’ performance in the Spanish local elections during the same month; more recently, Syriza’s second consecutive success at the Greek general elections on September 20, and also Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader on 12 September 2015 can be viewed as signs of a ‘revitalisation’ of left. Notwithstanding the differences among these cases, these successes appear to have common roots. In particular, they appear to stem from a reaction against the neo-liberal austerity policies which have been heralded as a ‘necessary evil’ by many centre-right parties in office across Europe. It is no coincidence that whilst weak macro-economic signals are now suggesting that the economy is gradually picking up again, the consensus of the left across Europe is increasing.

This panel aims to assess whether the recent success of left-wing parties across Europe is only short-lived or if this can be read as a signal of a longer-term shift in electoral preferences. Papers in this panel will explore these topics, looking at Italy, Spain and Greece (but also other countries) in a comparative perspective focusing on the reasons that lie behind the electoral successes of left-wing parties in these countries; the factors that have played a role (e.g. the use of new media, charismatic leadership and populist narratives); the differences and commonalities between these cases; the tensions within these parties and how these parties interrelate with their opponents across the political spectrum; and future scenarios.