Thursday , April 27 2017
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The very first students arrived at LSE 120 years ago this year, on 10 October 1895. We are celebrating the people, places and sometimes quirky events that make up the story of LSE, from 1895 to 2015. Look out for events, blog posts, publications, video and audio telling you more than you ever thought you could possibly want to know about what has made LSE one of the world’s most influential seats of learning.

Articles by BlogAdmin

Macron demonstrates that liberalism is still alive and well in Europe

12 hours ago

When French voters go back to the polls for the second round of the presidential election on 7 May, they will be choosing between two candidates – Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron – with radically different visions for the country. Christian Lequesne writes that the election has underlined the cleavage that exists in French society between those who believe France must adapt to globalisation and Europe, and those who support closed borders and protectionism as an alternative.

Emmanuel Macron. Credits: WEF (CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Marine Le Pen will probably not be the next President of France. She qualified for the second round of the election behind Emmanuel Macron, who was still unknown by most French citizens just a year ago. This does not mean that Le Pen will not receive a solid level of

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Illustrating the spectacular decline of Labour in Scotland and the revival of the Scottish Conservatives

1 day ago

Up until the 2015 UK general election, Scotland had been regarded as a Labour stronghold, with the country regularly returning a large number of Labour MPs to Westminster. But the party managed to secure only a single Scottish seat in 2015 and recent polls suggest its vote share could fall even further in the upcoming general election in June. Stuart Brown assesses where Scottish Labour voters have shifted their support to since 2015, and suggests the Conservatives could be the key beneficiaries if Labour’s vote share declines further in 2017.
Before the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, a popular line, repeated endlessly around general elections, was that if you pinned a Labour rosette on a donkey it would have a reasonable chance of being elected as an MP in Scotland. Even as

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Bridging the gender gap: How to address low levels of political interest among women

2 days ago

Survey evidence suggests that women in many European countries have a lower level of interest in politics on average than men do. Based on a recent study, Marta Fraile and Raul Gómez highlight that the degree of overall gender equality in a country can have a substantial impact on this ‘gender gap’ in political interest. However, this effect is largely confined to older citizens, suggesting that socialisation processes can still result in women being less interested in politics in younger age groups even in countries with high levels of gender equality.

Women in politics. Credits: Rappaport Center (CC BY 2.0)
Notwithstanding the improvements in gender equality that have taken place in European democracies, women appear to know less about, and to be less interested in politics than men.

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Emmanuel Macron may win the presidential election, but turbulent waters lie ahead

3 days ago

Emmanuel Macron is a strong favourite to beat Marine Le Pen in the second round of France’s presidential election on 7 May. But as Susan Milner highlights, having topped the vote in the first round of the election, Macron will now have to deal with a number of new challenges, including greater scrutiny over his policy proposals, and the task of organising his ‘En Marche!’ movement ahead of legislative elections in June.
Phenomenal self-belief, energy and drive propelled Emmanuel Macron to first place in the first round of France’s presidential election, with 24% of the vote. He will most likely, and barring any last-minute major events, become the eighth man to take on the role of President of the French Republic after the second round on 7 May, and by some margin the youngest. Latest

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Experts react: Macron and Le Pen advance to the run-off in the French presidential election

4 days ago

France held the first round of its presidential election on 23 April, with Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen making it to the second round. The centrist Macron is projected to have won 23.9 percent of the vote, while the Front National’s leader Le Pen came second with 21.4 percent. For the first time since the 1970s, no candidate from either mainstream party has made it through to the run-off, pointing at the possibility of a radical realignment in French politics.
Keep an eye on this page for more expert reactions coming in throughout the day. 

Marta Lorimer: “Macron is expected to win the election, but it is still unclear whether he will be able to govern”
The results from the first round largely confirmed what pollsters had been expecting as the most likely outcome: a second round

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Book Review: Charlemagne by Johannes Fried

4 days ago

In Charlemagne, Johannes Fried offers a new account of the life of the Frankish king and emperor, one of the most influential figures in European history. Although the limited surviving resources from the period make the book more of an in-depth account of the socio-political context of Charlemagne’s reign rather than a strict biography, Sara Perley welcomes this as a well-researched and engaging read that will foster curiosity about both Charlemagne and this lesser known period of history. 
Charlemagne. Johannes Fried (trans. by Peter Lewis). Harvard University Press. 2016.
Find this book: 
Charlemagne is one of the most well-recognised figures in European history, but as a man and a king, most know little about him. Johannes Fried’s book, translated from the German by Peter Lewis,

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The transformation of Jean-Luc Mélenchon: From radical outsider to populist leader

5 days ago

A late surge in support for the left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has added an extra layer of drama to France’s presidential election ahead of the first round of voting on 23 April. With Mélenchon now polling close enough to the leaders that he has a chance of making it to the second round, Marco Damiani traces his political career and assesses what it might mean for France if he secures an unlikely victory.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Credits: Pierre-Selim (CC BY 2.0)
With the first round of France’s presidential election fast approaching, Jean-Luc Mélenchon has sharply risen in opinion polls to become an unexpected key player in the campaign. As the leader of La France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France), a movement founded in 2016 without any expectation of victory, Mélenchon, a political

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Friends with benefits? Nine things worth knowing about the links between centre-left parties and trade unions

6 days ago

Many European parties have a formal or informal relationship with trade unions. While such alliances can often prove beneficial for parties, they can also generate disagreement between unions and politicians, as events in the UK’s Labour Party have often illustrated. Based on a new study, Tim Bale outlines nine key points for understanding the relationship between centre-left parties and unions.

A group of Labour supporters with David Lammy MP getting ready to join the TUC Anti-Cuts March through central London. Credits: Alan Stanton (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Before Theresa May decided to go to the country, the election result many observers of UK politics were most looking forward to was the outcome of ‘super-union’ Unite’s bitter leadership contest between the incumbent, Len McCluskey, and his

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Italy’s looming election: Will the Five Star Movement really form the next government?

7 days ago

Italy will hold its next general election no later than spring 2018, with Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement (M5S) currently ahead in most of the recent polling. Daniele Albertazzi argues that despite intense media speculation about what a victory for the M5S could mean for Italy and its participation in the euro, the picture is far from clear and could be altered substantially by current negotiations over the country’s electoral law.
With a general election due to be held in Italy before next spring, the media are assessing the likelihood that the Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S, Five Star Movement) may form the country’s next government. Some recent polls show the party enjoying the support of over 32 per cent of the electorate, which would make it the largest party in Italy. Its nearest

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A four horse race? What to expect from the French presidential election

8 days ago

The French presidential campaign has been a rollercoaster of twists and turns so far. But with just a few days to go until the first round of voting on 23 April, does the contest have further surprises in store? Marta Lorimer outlines the possible scenarios and highlights the issues you should keep an eye out for.

A four horse race? Photo: The Fountain of Apollo, Park of Versailles, France. Credits: gags9999 (CC BY 2.0)
This year’s French presidential election has been the gift that keeps on giving for fans of uncertainty. Predicted in turn as essentially a race between Nicolas Sarkozy and Alain Juppé, then as a safe victory for François Fillon, then a potentially game-changing victory for Emmanuel Macron, it has now become a four horse contest, with the favourites Emmanuel Macron (En

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Who are the protesters in Serbia, and what do they really want?

9 days ago

Serbia’s recent presidential election, which was won by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, gave rise to a wave of protests in several urban centres across the country. But there is still a great deal of uncertainty over the identity and motivations of the protesters. As the demonstrations are about to resume after an Easter break, Maja Bjeloš traces the origins of the protests, their organisation, and the motivations of those taking part.

What protesters want: “Democracy, Freedom of speech, Freedom of thought, Culture, Rule of law, Respect”. Belgrade, April 2017. Credits: Tena Prelec / LSE EUROPP
At no point did Aleksandar Vučić’s victory in Serbia’s 2 April presidential election seem in doubt. Less than an hour after the polls had closed, the daily newspaper Blic announced that the

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Can Europe stand up for academic freedom? The Bologna Process, Hungary, and the Central European University

10 days ago

Several politicians across Europe have voiced concern about academic freedom in Hungary following the passing of legislation that threatens the country’s Central European University. But do the EU’s institutions have any authority to act over the affair? Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon argue that a university coming under attack in an EU member state marks a critical moment, and the Bologna Process, as the manager of the European Higher Education Area, now has a window of opportunity to step in.

Protesters show support for the Central European University, Budapest, April 2017. Credits: Edit Kalman Photography ©
The Central European University (CEU) in Budapest has long made a distinctive mark in Hungarian academic life. A postgraduate institution, founded in 1991 by George Soros as part of

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No hope in Turkey

10 days ago

There is no silver lining to be sought in the aftermath of the Turkish constitutional referendum, suggests Dimitar Bechev. Erdoğan thrives on polarisation: the pattern of labelling those who do not support him as ‘traitors’ will continue for the foreseeable future. The relative success of the ‘No’ vote in the big urban centres must have hurt Erdoğan, but the near 50 per cent who opposed the current president at the ballot box on this occasion are not a homogenous group and it would be a surprise if a viable opposition candidate emerges.

Erdogan supporters in 2016, after the attempted coup d’etat. Credits:  Mstyslav Chernov  (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Those who followed Turkey’s tense constitutional referendum are looking high and low to find the silver lining. Unfortunately, there is none. Yes,

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Immigration, a consensual issue in the French presidential campaign?

12 days ago

Since the end of the 1970s, when labour migration was halted, immigration has been the hot potato of French politics, argues Sarah Wolff. Ever since its electoral breakthrough in 1982, the Front National has capitalised on the anxieties of the French society towards globalization, the economic and financial crisis as well as the disappointment with the current European project, seen by many as a big liberal market where social safety nets are being dismantled. In the current campaign, the right-wing is copying Marine Le Pen’s programme on immigration, in the hope to attract its electorate. The far-left presents the most humanistic ideas, although outside of EU treaties, while Emmanuel Macron stresses that asylum is a right and migrants are a strength for the economy.

A migrant in the

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Ireland and Brexit: Turning potential negative consequences into bargaining leverage

14 days ago

Ireland is arguably the EU state with the most to lose from Brexit, given its close relationship with the UK. Anthony Costello argues that although the UK’s decision to leave could have clear negative economic and political consequences for Ireland, there is also an opportunity for the country to use the situation to increase its bargaining power and gain meaningful concessions.
There are several political issues that will shape Ireland’s efforts in the Brexit negotiations. The consequences of Brexit for Ireland will be of economic, political and cultural significance. However, in the art of negotiation, negatives can easily be turned into positives; if the right language is applied, the right people are appealed to, and the right level of understanding and recognition is achieved from

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Erdoğan accuses Germany of echoing the Nazis – but his own record on anti-Semitism is shameful

15 days ago

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently generated controversy in Germany after he compared the actions of German officials with Nazis. The comments came following Germany’s decision to block political rallies linked to an upcoming referendum in Turkey on 16 April. Marc David Baer argues that the incident should be used to shine a light on the Turkish government’s own deployment of antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Credits: kremlin.ru.
After political rallies by Turkish cabinet ministers were cancelled in Germany and the Netherlands, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told Angela Merkel that “you are right now employing Nazi measures” and labelled the Dutch “Nazi remnants.” But what has been overlooked in the uproar is how it is Erdoğan

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Kadri Veseli: “Kosovo needs an army – we are worried about increasing Russian influence, the rise of extremism and Serbian provocations”

15 days ago

In an interview with EUROPP’s editors, Kadri Veseli, the Speaker of the Kosovo Parliament and Chairman of the country’s largest political party, PDK, states that the people of Kosovo are sick and tired of politicians, with global pop stars and sportswomen being better ambassadors for the country than most members of parliament. He reflects on the difficulties posed by a disadvantageous visa regime, reacts to Aleksandar Vucic’s election as President of Serbia, and outlines why he believes it is important to set up a Kosovo army. 

What are the main challenges affecting Kosovar people today, and what is the government (and your party in particular) doing to tackle them?
For the last few weeks, I travelled throughout Kosovo on a listening tour. More than anything, I heard that the citizens of

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The ‘grey zone’ of Vichy France: Understanding Marine Le Pen’s latest comments on the Second World War

15 days ago

The leader of the Front National, Marine Le Pen, has generated controversy by denying French responsibility for the persecution of Jews during the Second World War. Hugh Mcdonnell examines the ‘grey zone’ of French collaboration with the German occupation, writing that Le Pen’s comments contrast strikingly with previous efforts to ‘detoxify’ her party.
On 9 April, Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s Front National, denied on TV that France or the French state were responsible for the infamous Vel d’Hiv round-up of Jews in Paris on 16-17 July 1942. Corralled by French police into the eponymous cycling stadium, most of these 13,000 Jews ended up in Nazi death camps. But for Le Pen, widely expected to top the first round of the presidential elections on 23 April, “if there are people

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The European Union has an obligation to protect civil society in Hungary

16 days ago

New rules affecting the Central European University in Budapest have been criticised by several prominent figures in the EU and United States. Andrea Fumarola writes that the actions of the Hungarian government have been motivated in part by a desire to solidify their support base ahead of elections in 2018, and that the EU has an obligation to make its voice heard to protect the country’s civil society organisations.

Protesters hold #IstandwithCEU signs in front of the Central European University, April 2017. Credits: Edit Kalman Photography ©
Several EU and US officials have harshly criticised the Fidesz government led by Viktor Orbán for new legislation affecting the country’s Central European University. This legislation, popularly known as ‘Lex CEU’, has been judged by many observers

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Why China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative should be taken more seriously by the EU

16 days ago

The so called ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative is a plan by China to foster stronger cooperation and connectivity with other countries in Europe and Asia. Andreas Grimmel and Susanne My Giang write that the initiative has the potential to unlock a new kind of integration that focuses not only on bringing states within regions together, but also forging strong links between regions.

EU-China partnership – Credits: Friends of Europe (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Regional integration projects play a central role in international relations. Today, there is barely any region in the world that is not decisively shaped by such integration projects in the fields of politics, law, economics, and society. However, regional integration does not only influence the nation state and its actors, but also the

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Finally, some good economic news from the Eurozone – but will it last?

18 days ago

Eurostat figures released at the start of April show the Eurozone unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level for almost eight years. Harald Sander writes that there are now some solid grounds for optimism about the Eurozone economy, but that after nine years of economic struggles, a great deal more needs to be done to redress the damage from the Eurozone crisis.
Finally, good news from the Eurozone. Unemployment rates fell to 9.5% in February 2017. According to Eurostat, this is the lowest rate since May 2009. The 19 countries that have adopted the common currency are thus returning back to the unemployment level they experienced before the outbreak of the Eurozone crisis. In the last 12 months, the Eurozone recovery has lifted 1.25 million people out of unemployment.
This

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Book Review: Under the Shadow: Rage and Revolution in Modern Turkey by Kaya Genç

18 days ago

In Under the Shadow: Rage and Revolution in Modern Turkey, Kaya Genç draws upon a range of interviews undertaken following the 2013 Gezi Park protests, bringing to light the diverse perspectives of different members of Turkish society at a time of division and dissent. Genç’s innovative use of oral history makes for a fascinating and magnetic read that particularly deserves praise for giving voice to young Turkish dissidents, writes Nikos Cristofis. 
Under the Shadow: Rage and Revolution in Modern Turkey. Kaya Genç. I.B. Tauris. 2016.
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The Gezi Park protests that took place in Istanbul in late May 2013 started when a small environmentalist group protested the neoliberal ‘urban renewal’ plans of the AKP (Justice and Development Party) and then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep

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There’s still a lot to play for: the four elements of a pro-European hard Brexit

19 days ago

Like it or not, Britain is leaving the single market. But there is still plenty to play for, argues Simon Hix. With a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement, we could limit the economic damage. This probably means accepting some EU regulatory standards and devising a scheme to allow EU citizens to work in the UK (and vice versa). The immediate priority, however, is to resolve the question of how much the UK should pay to the EU, both now and in the future.
A few days after the EU referendum, I argued for a “pro-European Brexit”. My key contention was that the UK should leave the EU, to respect the referendum result, but that a majority of the British people had voted either to Remain or for a “soft” version of Leave – particularly the so-called Liberal Leavers, who wanted the UK to

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The European Citizens’ Initiative is five years old – and it has been no step forward for EU democracy

21 days ago

Despite the high hopes of its proponents, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) has not alleviated the “democratic deficit” of the European Union, writes Manès Weisskircher. He highlights that even the three campaigns that managed to collect the required one million signatures could not reach their political goals, with the European Commission deciding against further legislative action. He argues that despite the need to improve the ECI, prospects of substantial reform remain modest at best.
Five years ago, on 1 April 2012, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) came into effect. Since then, EU citizens can formally call on the European Commission to propose legislative action. In order to launch an ECI, the collection of one million signatures is required. In addition, low thresholds

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How electoral competition explains preference convergence and divergence in pre-electoral coalitions

22 days ago

While most coalition governments form after the results of an election, some parties choose to announce their intention to form pre-electoral coalitions before a vote has been held. Based on a recent study, Zachary Greene and Matthias Haber explore why parties, which are usually in direct conflict with one another for electoral support, choose to engage in this kind of cooperation. Their findings highlight that close competitors can often use their electoral context to mutual advantage and that parties do not always benefit from strictly adversarial approaches.

Horst Seehofer, leader of the Bavarian party CSU, with Angela Merkel. Credits: Michael Lucan (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Popular news reports abound with evidence that parties and politicians construct their campaign messages and manipulate

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Gender quotas and the crisis of the mediocre man

22 days ago

A common criticism against gender quotas is that they are anathema to meritocratic principles. This research on Sweden by Tim Besley, Olle Folke, Torsten Persson and Johanna Rickne shows that the opposite can be true: Quotas actually increased the competence of politicians by leading to the displacement of mediocre men whether as candidates or leaders. The results may also be relevant for judging gender quotas in business.

Credit: Corporate, by Gili Benita, under a CC0 licence
More than 100 countries have a gender quota of some form or another in their political system (www.quotaproject.org). While accepting that they lean against underlying biases in gender representation, many opponents argue that such quotas offend meritocratic principles: women elected on the back of quotas need not

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Armenia’s election aftermath: Few street protests, but the new government is set for a bumpy ride

22 days ago

Armenia’s ruling Republican Party maintained its position as the largest party in parliament following elections on 2 April. But as Richard Giragosian writes, there was a notable breakthrough by a new opposition force, the ‘Way Out Alliance’, which gained the third highest vote share. And despite little in the way of street protests following the election, the outlook for the next government remains challenging as the country seeks to reform its political system.

Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan, leader of the Republican Party, with Vladimir Putin. Credits: kremlin.ru (CC BY 2.0)
After a disappointing campaign, which was short of new policy ideas but long on political promises, voters in Armenia elected a new parliament on 2 April. As with past ballots in Armenia, the election was once

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Creating a ‘multi-speed Europe’ would divide the EU and diminish it as a foreign policy actor

23 days ago

The notion of creating a ‘multi-speed Europe’, in which some EU members pursue closer integration than others, has been frequently raised since the UK’s EU referendum. Angelos Chryssogelos argues that while the idea may appear to be a neat solution to the current pressures the EU faces, a multi-speed Europe could end up burdening the EU with even bigger strategic challenges in the long-run.
If 2016 was the year of populist upheavals, 2017 may be the year when the EU espouses ‘multi-speed’ integration as the way forward. The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has all but explicitly endorsed the idea. A succession of meetings of various European leaders in the last few weeks also confirms that multi-speed Europe is now seriously on the cards.
The political climate has

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Armenia’s election: The status quo wins at the expense of democracy

23 days ago

Armenia held elections on 2 April which saw the ruling Republican Party of Armenia win the largest share of the vote. Armine Ishkanian indicates that the result was highly disappointing for civil society groups and democracy activists in the country. The question now is whether these groups will succumb to frustration and despair, or whether they will begin the difficult and time-intensive work of building democracy from the bottom up.

Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan, leader of the Republican Party. Credits: kremlin.ru (CC BY 2.0)
After a quarter of a century of ‘transitioning’ to democracy, Armenia remains at best a partly free ‘managed’ democracy and at worst a semi-consolidated authoritarian regime. The country has high levels of poverty and inequality (over 30% of Armenians live

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The French presidential elections and the death of social dialogue

24 days ago

What role do trade unions have to play in the French presidential election? As Nick Parsons writes, when François Hollande won the last presidential election in 2012, he promised to establish a ‘social dialogue’ under which actors such as trade unions would be consulted over government policy. But the failure of this strategy, underlined by the extensive protests held over a new labour law in 2016, may leave trade unions resigned to oppositional mobilisation or increasing marginalisation from French political life, regardless of which candidate wins the upcoming election.

Protest against the bill proposed by Myriam El Khomri to reform the French labour law. Clément Gruin (CC-BY-SA 4.0)
As France gears up for two rounds of voting in the presidential election on 23 April and 7 May, the

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