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Too many chefs spoil the left
It goes almost without saying that picking the right leader is the key to any political party’s success.
 
That is easier said than done. Whereas for decades parliamentary parties were entrusted with choosing their party chief, it has since become fashionable to widen the franchise.
 
Involve more people in the process, so the thinking goes, and you are likely to end up picking the candidate with the widest national appeal.
 
But as the UK Labour party’s experience demonstrates, with its tens of thousands of three pound ‘registered supporters’,  things don’t always work out that way. In the echo-chamber age of social media, parties can all too easily end up with leaders who appeal to a small vocal minority but have little wider appeal.
 
Unfazed by the unhappy British example, France’s Socialists are about to undertake their second ‘open’ presidential primary.  Although, as Jocelyn Evans and Gilles Ivaldi explore, with a string of candidates – including charismatic leftwinger Arnaud Montebourg – the risk is that the electorate are left with the impression of a weak and divided movement. It might well prove a case of ‘too many chefs’ spoiling the left.

The ongoing leadership turmoil in Spain’s Psoe – dubbed by commenters the ‘war of the roses’ – may yet end in a party primary, with Andalucian president Susana Díaz the current favourite.

Meanwhile, the starting whistle has been blown on the Dutch labour party’s first ever open contest. As Bart van Bruggen explains, it looks set to be a battle more about style than ideological difference.



SPAIN
Three hundred days later
With infighting now rife among the Spanish left, the formation of a minority conservative government looks increasingly likely
BY ELISA DÍAZ AND MARTA ROMERO

The French left’s apparent inability to mount a credible challenge in next year’s presidential race may have repercussions far beyond the election
BY JOCELYN EVANS AND GILLES IVALD                           READ MORE >>
ITALY
Politics gets personal for Renzi
As the world awaits the outcome of Italy’s referendum on constitutional reform, the prime minister’s personal fate could also be hanging in the balance
BY MATTIA GUIDI
NETHERLANDS
It’s all to play for in the fight to lead Dutch Labour
The PvdA has six weeks to choose its leader before facing the country in next year’s general election
BY BART VAN BRUGGEN

This edition of State of the Left features updates and analysis from Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and the United States





PORTUGAL
Have the Portuguese Socialists found the cure for electoral decline?
Support for the Socialist government is soaring on the first anniversary of its alliance with the far left in parliament
BY HUGO COELHO


AUSTRIA
The tug of war over Ceta
Elevating the issue of the Canadian-European trade deal may prove to have been a mistake for Austria’s Socialist party
BY GERHARD MARCHL


NEW ZEALAND
Unpicking the ‘left bloc’ delusion
Recent polling exposes the New Zealand Labour party’s strategy of pursuing a potential pact with other leftwing parties as fatally flawed
BY JOSIE PAGANI


BELGIUM
Bad luck for the leftwing opposition
Belgian media are relishing the thought of opposition coming from inside the government, making it very hard for the ‘real’ opposition to make its voice heard
BY WIM WERMEERSCH


UNITED STATES
Parody turns to jeopardy
Donald Trump’s race for the White House may be in peril, but so too is a fundamental pillar of American democracy
BY CLAIRE O'CONNOR                                READ MORE >>


Previous editions:

 

July 2016 - Brexit: The real lessons for Europe's left

May 2016 - Everything is at stake in Spain's repeat elections

March 2016 - Fifty shades of beige

January 2016 - Life on Mars?

2015

November 2015 - Fragile Coalitions, Charades of Unity

September 2015 - 'Great transformations'

June 2015 - 'Squeezed from all sides'

March 2015

January 2015


2014

December 2014 - 'Sweden shows northern Europe's political volatility'

November 2014 - 'Battle for the true left'

September 2014 - 'Not the same old Sweden'

May 2014 - 'Fragile Europe, fragmented left'

March 2014 - 'Losing the big red cities'

January 2014 - 'The rise of vetocracy'


2013


November 2013 - 'The race to the top'

September 2013 - 'Long live the welfare state?'

June 2013 - 'The resilience of conservatism'

May 2013 - 'May day alert for the left'

February 2013 - 'Italy's centre-left looks set for success

2012

December 2012 - 'Looking ahead to 2013'

November 2012 - 'Two defining contests'

September 2012 - 'The return of the political centre'

July 2012 - 'Shooting old horses in cold blood'

May 2012

March 2012

January 2012

2011

December 2011

October 2011

September 2011

July 2011

June 2011

April 2011

March 2011

January 2011