World News and Trends: Parts of Europe lurch to the right

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Parts of Europe lurch to the right

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Christopher Blocher's far-right freedom party (SVP) won an unexpected victory in recent general elections. The SVP garnered 27 percent of the overall vote, outdistancing any other political party.

Switzerland's recent rightward move highlights a gradual trend in Europe. Recent years have seen Austria, Holland, France, Denmark and Germany take a turn to the right in varying degrees. "According to official estimates there are more than 10,000 neo-Nazis active in Germany and about 45,000 members of extreme right-wing organizations" (The Guardian, Sept. 16).

Italy could be next. Interesting indicators of an Italian move to the right are already present. Allesandra Mussolini (the photogenic granddaughter of the fascist dictator who ruled Italy from 1922 to 1945) recently formed a new breakaway party she called "Freedom of Action" or Liberta d'Azione. Used in a political context, the word "action" in Italian is traditionally associated with right-wing movements.

Another party leader, Gianfranco Fini, recently praised Benito Mussolini as "the greatest statesman of the 20th century." Yet on a visit to Israel he also labeled his fascist rule as an "absolute evil." These words apparently motivated Ms. Mussolini to opt out of Mr. Fini's political party.

Reporting from Rome, correspondent Richard Owen simply stated that "Mussolini has been 'rehabilitated' as the country is caught up in a wave of nostalgia" (The Times, Nov. 21). One Italian citizen said: "You just cannot cancel out history. I still remember my parents singing fascist songs." Writing some two weeks later, Mr. Owen related that "there is a growing tendency to 'rehabilitate' Mussolini, with historians offering revisionist accounts of his rule" (The Times, Dec. 1, emphasis added).

On a more practical level, this winter the Italian government infuriated Britain "by proposing that foreign policy powers be ceded to Brussels" (The Guardian). These European political movements bear watching not just due to the massive tragedies of the 20th century, but also because of what the Bible foretells for much of Europe. Please request our free booklet You Can Understand Bible Prophecy. (Sources: The Guardian, The Times [both London].)