Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales.

Plaid Cymru - Party of Wales. Plaid, as they are commonly known, are Wales nationalist party. Unlike the SNP, Plaid have always been less keen on Welsh independence and have actually only tended to promote it quite recently. In reality it is truer to think of Plaid as a Welsh language party (though the party has attempted to move away from this view in recent years). The party enjoys close relations with its Scottish equivalent, the SNP. Plaid tends to lean to the left of Welsh Labour (which is really saying something!) backing…Read more

Scottish National Party (SNP)

Scottish National Party (SNP). The SNP is a Scottish separatist party. The party won a majority of seats in the Scottish parliament in 2011 and hence forms the Scottish government. The party traditionally tried to avoid questions of left and right, but moved clearly to the left in the early 80s. In recent years it has moved closer to the centre, though it still broadly claims to be a social democratic party. Nonetheless, the SNP’s base is actually diverse and takes in large numbers of former Conservative Party voters. The party has begun…Read more

Green Party

Green Party. Technically the UK does not have one Green Party, but three (with separate Green Parties in Northern Ireland and Scotland). Nonetheless the three cooperate quite closely. The only party with seats in the European Parliament is the English and Welsh Greens however. The Greens are fairly weak in the UK due to Britain’s political system which tends to squeeze them out, though they won a seat in the national parliament in 2010 in the politically radical seaside resort of Brighton. The British Greens tend to lean towards a more eco-socialist style…Read more

Pirate Party (PP)

Pirate Party (PP). The Pirates caused something of an international sensation when they broke through in 2009 to take two seats. The party is the originator of the international Pirate Party movement. The party’s predominant issues are opposition to copyright law and in favour of rights on the internet. It was pro-internet filesharing and has close links to the notorious Swedish torrent website the Pirate Bay. The party also seeks expanded civil rights, and wishes for a right to privacy to be inserted into the Swedish constitution. Otherwise the party attempts to be…Read more

Green Party (MP)

Green Party (MP, a more direct translation would be ‘Green Environmental Party’). Sweden’s Green Party has been a presence on the national scene since 1988. The party is fairly typical for a green party, prioritising feminism, anti-nuclear power and climate change views. The party’s base is amongst students, young people, and the well-educated. The party backed the Social Democrat minority government between 1994 and 2006 but is now hungrier for power. It has sought to gain access to be a future coalition partner for the Social Democrats, who have never shared power before.…Read more

The People Decide (LPD)

The People Decide (LPD). LPD is the final electoral alliance this year. It is a left-wing regionalist coalition composed of parties affiliated to the European Free Alliance. The coalition consists of parties which were members of the Europe of the Peoples coalition in 2009. The first of its two major components is Bildu, itself a left-wing coalition from the Basque Country that has increasingly challenged the Basque National Party’s traditional dominance over the region. Bildu is controversial outside the Basque Country due to its alleged links to ETA. The coalition also includes Galicia’s…Read more


Podemos (literal translation: ‘we can’). Podemos is a new party in its first electoral outing. Founded earlier this year by left-wing academics, the party’s leader is a Spanish political science lecturer, Pablo Iglesias. The party is anti-corruption, supportive of participatory democracy. It is anticapitalist in orientation. The party uses open primaries to select its candidates. The party claims to support more democracy, more rights (such as ‘decent work’, universal healthcare, respect for the environment etc.) and an economy at the service of citizens. The party polls between 1 and 4%, suggesting that Iglesias…Read more

European Spring (PE)

European Spring (PE). European Spring is an alliance of multiple left-leaning regionalist parties with the small green party Equo. Along with Equo, a very minor eco-socialist party, the major components of the list are the Compromise Coalition a centre-left coalition of Valencian nationalist parties headed by the Valencian Nationalist Bloc (BNV), and the Aragonese Union, an eco-socialist Aragonese nationalist (though not separatist) party. The BNV and the CHA ran as part of the Europe of the Peoples coalition in 2009. Neither won any seats. Both are members of the European Free Alliance, whereas…Read more

Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC)

Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC). The ERC is pretty much what it says on the tin: a Catalan separatist, socialist and republican party. Founded in 1931, it was a component of the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War. The ERC has tended to be both to the left of the PSOE and more separatist than the Convergence and Union. It has tended to vacillate between its more left-leaning and its more separatist wing, and competes with both the PSOE and the CiU for votes. Between 2004 and 2010 it was part of…Read more

United Left (iU) & Initiative for Catalonia Greens

United Left (iU) & Initiative for Catalonia Greens. The iU is a coalition of far-left parties, predominantly based around the PCE, the Spanish Communist Party. Communism was a major element of the nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War, and, subsequently a major component of the opposition to Franco and the PCE won around 10% support in the first two free elections in Spain. The party subsequently collapsed, and formed the IU as a way to broaden its base, successfully as it turned out. The party’s support is heavily linked to the performance…Read more