Evil chickens and two-tailed dogs: Six weirdest parties you can vote for in European elections

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Vote for Europe

Lots of political parties are bending over backwards to win your vote in June; others, not so much.

EU elections are due in June – and plenty of established parties are fighting hard to win your vote to elect 720 MEPs who will determine the course of EU law over the next five years.

Plenty of them won’t be fighting quite as hard, though – and there’s also a host of options that are more specialised, if not downright bizarre.

As the clock counts down to polls opening on 6 June, we’ve combed through the electoral lists to find the weirdest options Europeans might find themselves confronted with at the ballot box.

1. Speaking in tongues

Voters in France can put their X next to the Europe Democracy Esperanto party – a single-issue campaign that is seeking to add the artificial language, invented in 1887, to the bloc’s roster of 24 official tongues.

“EU bodies function almost exclusively in English,” documents on the party’s website said. “The European population is cut off from its leaders.”

Is a lack of Esperanto really the reason why voters feel separated from Brussels? In 2019, 18,587 members of the French electorate thought so, putting the party at 0.08% of the national total.

It became one of 28 parties that stood in France but didn’t win any MEPs, including groups promoting animal rights, revolutionary communism, and France’s exit from the EU.

Still, we can’t help but wish “bonŝancon” to retired civil servant Laure Patas d’Illiers, who’s heading up the Esperanto list this year.

2. A party for millennials

Across Europe, party strategists are trying to determine which arguments resonate with the young or the old.

Now, there’s a party for the millennials: not the generation of voters born around the turn of the last millennium – but those hoping to ring in the next one, in the year 3000.

Alongside mainstream parties like the Christian Democrats and Socialists, voters in Germany can choose from a host of options dedicated to vegetarianism, humanism and animal rights.

Or they might plump for an even more special-interest party – dedicated to biomedical research into rejuvenation, or stopping the ageing process entirely.

The website of the Partei für schulmedizinische Verjüngungsforschung says it will invest €40 billion a year of EU cash to give an “unlimited healthy life for everyone,” promising Europeans the chance of a lifespan of thousands of years.

Who wants to live forever? I guess we’ll find out in June.

3. Don’t vote

If you don’t fancy voting to become Methuselah, you could just … not vote. Indeed, that’s pretty much the motto of one of the EU’s obscurer options.

In Czechia, there’s a “Don’t Vote for Us” party – and its message may prove sadly popular.

The last EU elections in 2019 saw record turnout, attributed to a surge in interest among younger voters. But nearly half the electorate chose to stay home, suggesting a lower enthusiasm about EU issues compared to national polls.

The full name of the Czech “Nechceme Vase Hlasy” directs users to a website proclaiming the benefits of “anarcho-capitalism” – a libertarian political theory that advocates rolling back state regulation to aid freedom.

4. Vote for an evil chicken …

The Czech anti-party isn’t the only one standing in the elections that isn’t entirely serious about getting elected.

Sweden’s Ond Kyckling Partiet, or Evil Chicken Party, is one of a remarkable 114 groups competing for the country’s 21 MEP seats.

“Originally the evil chicken was a sort of inside joke,” Svante Strokirk, the party founder who’s also at the top of its electoral list, told Euronews. “I don’t remember exactly why, but it sort of morphed.”

Though the party has some policy ideas, from copyright reform to electoral rules, Strokirk appears more interested in testing how easy it was to register formally as a candidate. (In Sweden it’s pretty easy, it seems).

He’s hoping to get over 100 votes, which would be a significant rise from the 39 the Chickens gained in recent national elections. By our reckoning, that still wouldn’t be enough to elect him as an MEP, and he’s not worried he’ll detract attention from more serious players.

“If you’re someone who wants to vote for the Evil Chicken Party, I think you probably wouldn’t have voted anyway, or you don’t care that much about who you’re voting for,” he said.

He says he’s not really sure if he wants to become an MEP, though acknowledges it “would be cool”.

“I haven’t gone as far as to look at Brussels property prices,” he added.

5. … or a two-tailed dog

Sometimes, in politics, what starts out with humour can end up deadly serious.

Italy’s Five-Star Movement, founded by satirist Beppe Grillo, is predicted by a recent Euronews poll to win 16 out of Italy’s 76 seats this June.

The Two-Tailed Dog Party, started in Szeged, Hungary nearly twenty years ago, set out to mock traditional politics through humorous art-based stunts – but now says it’s much more than a joke.

Though the party keeps its tongue-in-cheek side, lead candidate Marietta Le told Euronews the Two-Tailed Dogs are “drawing attention to problems in public life and politics” via “community-based, long-term thinking”.

Le cited issues from broken pavements to corruption: and there’s certainly plenty of problems to draw attention to. Right-wing leader Viktor Orbán, in power since 2010, has been condemned for a slide into autocracy, with MEPs citing concerns over judicial independence and media freedom.

Hopes are rising about alternatives such as Péter Magyar, a former Orbán insider who’s standing 12 MEP candidates and surging in the polls.

But Le is confident her party will gain at least one EU lawmaker, and is in talks to join the Parliament’s Green grouping if they do.

“We don’t need messiahs, we need thousands of people who will shovel the s*** to make this country a better place,” she said. “We are a funny party – and the other parties are jokes.”

6. The Party Party

Perhaps the most famous – and by most measures successful – protest party is from Germany, called simply Die Partei.

This June, comedian and founder Martin Sonneborn is looking to gain a third term in the European Parliament – with a manifesto that includes promising to rebuild the Berlin Wall, and to cap the prices of beer and kebabs.

According to the Parliament website, during his ten years as an MEP, Sonneborn hasn’t penned a single report – the key tool which lawmakers use to amend EU legislation or call for political change.

Sonneborn told Euronews he’s lifting the veil on opaque EU institutions – and also cites interventions on more serious issues, such as how the European Commission negotiated Covid vaccine contracts with Pfizer and the bloc’s problematic relations with Azerbaijan.

“The millions of citizens who follow my speeches on the Internet seem to like them so far,” Sonneborn told Euronews in an emailed statement. “It is crucial that we do not re-elect the parties that have led Europe into war and crisis.”

Why are there so many parties?

For Sophia Russack of the Centre for European Policy Studies, it’s no wonder such diversity will be on display in June.

“The European Parliament elections are always a very attractive testing ground for new parties,” said Russack, a researcher at the Brussels-based think tank.

In countries like Germany, there’s no minimum threshold for a party to secure EU representation, she notes – making it a good warm-up before seeking to stand in national elections, which have a much tougher 5% minimum threshold.

“Satire parties bring a freshness … I don’t think it is necessarily unhealthy for democracy to have parties like this,” Russack said.

But, she added, European Parliament rules mean the odds are stacked against iconoclasts who can’t fit into any of the chamber’s major political families, of which there are currently seven.

“Power and influence are distributed by groups and group affiliation,” she said – perhaps explaining why the likes of Sonneborn haven’t got their teeth into legislative work. “Without a group, you’re nothing.”

Though outsiders can offer a new and honest perspective, the joke can wear thin, she warns.

“If these guys also tend to stick around mandate after mandate, then it doesn’t fulfil the same purpose any more,” she said. “You are also occupying the space of somebody that maybe wants to do proper work.”

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Categories: Big Brother
Anton Nieuwenhuizen

Written by:Anton Nieuwenhuizen All posts by the author

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