Monday, 5 July 2010

Beware the electoral curse of Cameron

David Cameron's intervention in the Polish Presidential election has failed.

The British prime minister took the unusual step of inviting his controversial ally, Law and Justice candidate Jaroslaw Kaczynski, to a Downing Street photocall a week before the second ballot. As Anne Applebaum wrote in the Sunday Telegraph, "for Kaczynski, this was a major coup: it allowed him to claim "support" from the Tory party for his campaign, and helped underline his "new" friendly attitude to foreigners".

Kaczynski has now conceded defeat to his liberal rival, Bronislaw Komorowski of the Civic Platform party.


The result will not surprise those who have noted a strange electoral curse which has befallen those who have entered into political alliances with David Cameron.

David Cameron's electoral pact with the Ulster Unionists failed to return a single MP. Only Sylvia Hermon, who refused to join the pact and ran as an independent, was elected to the Commons, defeating the Cameron candidate with an increased majority.

The Conservatives have also seen all of their European allies fail to prosper in the year since the creation of the European Conservative and Reformist group in the European Parliament, with even the continued political existence of a number of minor partners in doubt.

The Czech Civic Democrat Party saw its vote fall from 35.3% to 20.3% in this year's general election, losing 28 of its 81 seats. The party remains in government, though is no longer the largest Parliamentary group.

The Hungarian Democratic Forum, which held 11 Hungarian Parliamentary seats in 2006, was wiped out in the 2010 elections, its first as an ECR member, winning no seats. Its vote fell to 2.67%, having won over 5% at the previous election.

The populist Belgian List Dedecker party was reduced to a single seat in the recent Belgian elections, having won five seats in the Chamber of Representatives and one in the Senate in 2007. Its vote was 2.3%. It won 7.3% in the European elections just before joining Cameron's ECR group.

In last month's Dutch elections, the Christian Union fell from six to five seats, falling from 4% to 3.2% of the vote. The Lithuanian and Latvian parties, who have one MEP each, have yet to face national elections since the formation of the group.


The scale of this Cameron electoral curse may cause a few sleepless nights for the Liberal Democrats.

The LibDems have fallen in the first early opinion polls since the Coalition was formed even though the Coalition and even its first budget had pretty good approval ratings, with the Conservatives polling well while their partners fall back.

However, the third party are hoping to carry a referendum on electoral reform. And centrist Conservatives have argued that the Alternative Vote would enable David Cameron to formalise the relationship.

Indeed, the preferential voting system would make it possible to consider an electoral pact ...

1 comment:

Ian & Nina Graham said...

This is all good clean fun, but the point that might seriously have been made is that Cameron has yet to win an election in his own right. You might think from the way the government is behaving that they gained a 1945 / 1997 -style landslide mandate on May 6th.
The Tories did not win the election, although they were the largest party.
Ian Graham