Most European nations have a multi-party political system, as a result of proportional representation; and even those countries which have a district system (such as Britain and France) tend to have more than two "significant" parties. And in just about all of them, you'll find several (and often all) of the following parties, in approximate order from Right to Left:
- Far Right: A quite recent arrival in many countries. Far Right parties are a mixed bag, ranging from outright neo-Nazis who Put on the Reich to much more moderate groups. They are fond of simple, radical positions and strong language. They intensely dislike immigration, Islam, The European Union, 'political correctness', and the 'left-wing elite'. They are usually in favour of a tough approach to crime, and use nationalist and populist rhetoric. Interestingly, their economic programme is usually centrist or "third positionist" as they would like to describe it rather than right-wing free market, promoting private enterprise, but extensive welfare policies as well.
- Neo-Nazis: Extremists who scornfully reject the democratic system as it is and advocates radical change. It boils down to: Hitler was right. Prone to violence and often associated with organized crime. Anti-Semitism and a hatred of Israel, Zionism and all things perceived to be Jewish is a sure sign. So far, less than a handful of European countries have parties of this type of any noticeable size.
- Identitarian Movement/Neo-Fascists: A more sophisticated Far-Right movement than the typical street thug Neo-Nazis, even though they advocate roughly the same ideas. Some would call them pseudo-intellectuals. Still in its very early stages with no big parties belonging to this subcategory to this date. Roughest equivalent to the American alt-right.
- Right-Wing Populists: Right-wing populist parties usually dislike the same things as far-right parties in general do, but they put much effort into looking presentable and spend a lot of their time distancing themselves from neo-Nazis and neo-fascists. Most either come straight from the far right tradition, descending from splinter groups of classical liberal parties, or is the creation of a charismatic leader without much of an ideology other than discontentment with the status quo. Interestingly, parties who have managed to evolve from fringe nationalist groups tend to be pro-Israel and strongly condemn anti-Semitism.note Right-wing populist parties attract many voters who are in some way dissatisfied with the established/traditional political parties.note
- Conservatives: The catch-all right-wing party. Best described as a fusion of the Christian Democrats (see below) and the Classical Liberals; they tend to have the economic agenda of the latter and the social agenda of the former.
- It is very important to note that a Conservative party will usually not thrive alongside any of these parties; in fact, a Conservative party can only flourish where Classical Liberal and Christian Democratic parties do not exist or are very small, and vice versa. Thus a European country will either have a Christian Democratic party and a Classical Liberal one (Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden) or a Conservative party (Britain, France, Spain). Switzerland does have a Conservative party alongside Christian Democrats and Classical Liberals, but it's quite small.
- Christian Democrats: A party guided by Christian principles. They are often very close to the centre, although slightly to the right of it. They tend to have a moderately conservative position on social issues, but not a very clear economic agenda.note Natural allies of the Classical Liberals, but they will also often work together with the Social Democrats (see below) in a "Grand Coalition". They're somewhat more uncomfortable when they have to work together with the Far Right, as has happened in the Netherlands.
- Classical Liberals: The primary defenders of capitalism and the free market. Usually popular among businesspeople and the upper class for this reason. This right-wing economic agenda is often coupled with a progressive stance on social issues like abortion, gay marriage, immigration and euthanasia, although in recent years, many Classical Liberal parties have moved to a more conservative position, especially when it comes to law and order. Compared to other political tendencies listed here, they are also somewhat more likely to be anti-environmentalist, though, being Europe, they do it only very moderately.
- Americans should think of the Libertarians, but slightly more OK with social programs and much less OK with gun rights (this is Europe, remember?).
- Progressive Liberals: Somewhat rarer (and usually smaller) than any other type of (non-fringe) party on this list, but they still show up often enough to be worth mentioning here. They have a very progressive stance on social issues and often a slightly-right-of-centre economic programme. They are also known for their fondness for electoral reform; many Progressive Liberal parties have 'Democratic' in their name for this reason, and indeed they are, in many ways, comparable to the Democratic Party in the US. Their image of sophistication, nuance, and pragmatism attracts big swaths of the intellectual elite to them. A Progressive Liberal party will often work together with almost anyone except the Far Right and the Far Left, but they're often especially cosy with the Greens, with whom they share their progressive social agenda.
- Social Democrats: Almost always the principal left-wing party, and the direct opponents of the Classical Liberals and/or Conservatives. They will often have "Labour" or "Workers'" in their name, indicating their roots in the 19th-century working-class struggle for higher wages, decent working conditions, and a social safety net. (In former Soviet Bloc countries, instead, they often are direct descendants of the Party.) They are clearly on the left, but not radically so, on both economic and social issues. Many of them made a move to the economic right in The '90s (the "Third Way"), but most have returned to their left-wing roots since.
- Greens: As the name implies, a party that cares a great deal about sustainability and the environment. They support clean energies and oppose nuclear power and GMOs. This is usually coupled with a firmly left-wing (though not in a traditional way) economic agenda and a very progressive stance on social issues. Political correctness is a virtue for Greens. Natural allies of the Social Democrats and the Progressive Liberals.
- Green parties also sometimes have a strong business-friendly/classical liberal wing or similar internal factions. Most common lines of divide are the aforementioned classical liberal against social democratic, social democratic against far left or "Fundi" ("fundamentalist", opposition strategy) against "Realo" ("Realpolitik", strategy of working towards a coalition).
- In some other Green parties, left-wing economic ideology is so ingrained that business-friendly Greens formed small splinter groups with limited chances of success; in such countries, the "official" left-wing Green party is often accused of being made of "watermelons" (green on the outside, red—i.e. socialist—on the inside, which is to say they use environmentalism as a less-controversial cloak for their "real" far-left agenda). In some countries, there are also niche environmentalist groups that blend traditional "green" concerns with Christian Democratic positions on some issues.
- Far Left: Although ideologically the opposite, their tactics have more in common with their Far Right counterparts than either likes to admit due to both being against liberalism; both "Far" factions share a fondness for populism and simplicity, and a distrust of The European Union.
- Left-Wing Populists: A radical left-wing party, either a reformed communist party or a new creation, which will defend the welfare state at all costs and doesn't trust businesspeople and private enterprise. Left-Wing Populists channel working-class discontent and rage, but whereas the Right-Wing Populists direct this rage towards immigrants and left-wing intellectuals, Left-Wing Populists direct it towards bankers, businesspeople, and "managers".
- Communists: And yes, in a number of countries this includes old-school Communists who long for the hammer and sickle. Many in the East wish to revive their old eastern bloc nations, accusing the advent of capitalism in the '90s for causing their country to fall from grace. Interestingly tend to side with Russia, China and any other capitalist nation that happens to oppose America on foreign policy as a lesser evil than the west and ... because ... or simply because these parties maintain oligarchic systems that are close to Russian political and business elites, regardless of whether they are communist or capitalist. Oftentimes, the latter is because the end of the Soviet Union didn't actually end the Communists' connection with Russian money.
And now three oddities outside the standard spectrum.
- Pirates: This is a special type of political platform. They usually advertise themselves as an alternative to the other political parties. No clear definition if they are left or right [though many analysts view them as leftist] and the pirate parties claim themselves to be above all political spectrum. They demand liberalising or abolishing copyright, greater transparency in government, direct democracy, and removing what they see as excessive government controls. They are also suspicious of companies, partly motivated by the pirates' advocacy for copyright and intellectual property reform. They are usually [sometimes mistakenly and not always so] lumped together with Anonymous, and their voter base is typically very young and extremely tech-savvy/nerdy.
- Regionalists: This is Europe, after all. Regionalist parties exist in various forms and range from advocating secession to demanding autonomy. Vary wildly on their other political platforms, ranging from left-wing (e.g. the Republican Left of Catalonia) to center-left/social-democratic (e.g. the Scottish National Party) to center-right (e.g. the New Flemish Alliance) to right-populist (e.g. the Italian Lega Nord) to far-right (e.g. the Vlaams Belang or "Flemish Interest").
- Agrarians: In countries that are less industrialised, or for various historical reasons, there are parties defending the interests of the farmers. They're usually less urban counterparts of one of the parties above — when farmers are poor but numerous, Agrarians will be effectively left wing, treating them as a kind of workers, but when the farmers are effectively businesspeople, agrarians will be more liberal economically. Since farmers tend to be more conservative than the city folk, the Agrarians also are more socially conservative and religious - but quite often they'd get along with Greens. If they survived industrialisation, they typically have some "basic" power base — farmers tend to vote for farmers, after all. In the Scandinavia and the Baltics, historically agrarian parties tend now to be the main centrist parties with a slight classical liberal and pro-environmental tendency.
Of course, these are not all present in every European country (some of them are even mutually exclusive, as pointed out above). Nor is it the case that there are no European political parties that do not correspond to any of these "types". But parties from this list do make up an overwhelming majority in just about every parliament in Europe, and dominate the political landscape of most European nations.
Also note that the parties can differ considerably in size. Traditionally, the Christian Democrats (or the Conservatives in countries which have them) and the Social Democrats are considered the "Big Two"; sometimes the Classical Liberals are also included, which gives us the "Big Three". Far Left and Far Right parties were often small before the Turn of the Millennium, but have now grown to medium size in many countries. The Greens and the Progressive Liberals are usually small to medium-sized.
Generally being more to the right socio-politically than neighboring Germany has had an effect on the local alignment.
- Far Right/Right-Wing Populist: Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ) (Freedom Party of Austria), except in Carinthia where they're called Die Freiheitlichen in Kärnten (FPK) (The Freedom Party of Carinthia)
- The divide between the Far Right and the Classical Liberals has been historically wafer-thin in Austria since the Austrian Liberal tradition has always been tied to German Nationalism, which in Austria means becoming a part of Germany. The Freedom Party has always had a strong business wing (which notably lead to their first role in a coalition government in 1983) and various literature on them has claimed the party's history to be an internal struggle between the "Nationals" (the Far Right wing, made up of ex-Nazis, the national student fraternities and downright Neonazis) and the "Liberals" (the pro-business wing), which the Nationals pretty much won with Jörg Haider's rise to the leadership of the party in 1986. It gets complicated after that because under his reign the party attracted more people than it ever had before. He left the party amid internal struggles in 2005 and founded the BZÖ (see below).
- Classical Liberals: Bündnis Zukunft Österreich (BZÖ) (Alliance for the Future of Austria)
- Originally Jörg Haider's party after leaving the FPÖ, after his death decided to transform into a "Right-Liberal" party to fuse economic liberalism with social conservative views. Still trailing along the line between Right-wing Populists and Classical Liberals.
- Team Stronach (FRANK/TS), a new one-person centered party around self-made millionaire (and Canadian)note Frank Stronach.
- Conservative: Schwarz-Gelbe Allianz (SGA) (Black-Yellow Alliance): Black and yellow are the colors of the Hapsburg dynastic flag); the SGA, founded in 2004 and influenced by the late Otto von Habsburg, supports the peaceful re-formation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was dissolved as part of the Peace of Versailles at the end of WWI. The party is officially non-partisan, but its supporters' views are typically somewhere between the BZÖ and the ÖVP.
- Christian Democrats: Österreichische Volkspartei (ÖVP) (Austrian People's Party)
- Progressive Liberals: NEOS Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum (NEOS) (NEOS - The New Austria and Liberal Forum): A new youth liberal party formed to contest the 2013 legislative election.
- Social Democrats: Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs (SPÖ) Social Democratic Party of Austria)
- Greens: Die Grünen - die grüne Alternative (The Greens - The Green Alternative)
Belgium has been a highly decentralised federation for a few decades now, and its major parties are split between Flemish (Dutch-speaking) and Francophone. However, within each group there is a fairly standard distribution.
- Flemish parties:
- Far Right: Vlaams Belang (VB) (Flemish Interest): Against Islam and immigrants, in favor of Flemish independence.
- Classical Liberals: Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten (Open VLD) (Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats): Have moved in a somewhat progressive-liberal directionnote but aren't there yet.
- Christian Democrats: Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams (CD&V) (Christian Democratic and Flemish)
- Social Democrats: Socialistische Partij Anders (sp.a) (Different Socialist Party)
- Greens: Groen (Green): Usually stylized Groen!
- Regionalists: Nieuw Vlaamse Alliantie (New Flemish Alliance): More or less classical-liberal, but with a Christian-democratic wing, and really mostly a single-issue party favoring Flemish independence without being racist about it (as the Vlaams Belang are).
- Francophone parties:
- Right-Wing Populists: Parti populaire (People's party)
- Classical Liberals: Mouvement réformateur (MR) (Reformist Movement)
- Christian Democrats: Centre démocrate humaniste (CDH) (Democratic Humanist Centre)
- Social Democrats: Parti Socialiste (PS) (Socialist Party)
- Greens: Ecolo
- Far Left: Parti du Travail de Belgique (Workers' Party of Belgium)(WPB)
- Far Right: The British National Party, National Front & English Defence League all have parts of this, although the BNP explicitly styles itself as a socialist party (they used to campaign under the slogan 'like the Labour Party you used to vote for' until the Labour Party changed the law to stop them). This has led to lines like 'socialist, yeah, national socialist' and the BNP were, until they failed to pay an annual membership fee to remain a political party, routinely ridiculed by all and sundry.
- Right-Wing Populists: The main current of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) fits most comfortably here, with its moderate Euroscepticism (having no particular opposition to the entity on the Continent but believing that Britain should not be in it) and its right-wing but not exactly xenophobic immigration policy (calling for reduced economic immigration, but not calling for a stop to it, and emphasising that British citizenship should remain open to people who aren't "White British"). Features a lot of ex-Tories. The more overtly racist wing of the party features a number of ex-National Front and BNP members, some of whom are prone to coming out with ridiculous things like the floods in Southern England beings God's wrath for gay marriage. This was universally mocked by all factions.
- Since Gerard Batten took control of the UKIP in 2018, the party has moved mostly into the far-right category, particularly with a greater focus on Islam and with more far right activists joining the party. In response, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage broke off from the party and formed The Brexit Party, which attracted most of the aforementioned main current of UKIP as well as some eurosceptic Tories and Labourers.
- Classical Liberals: The Liberal Democrats 'Orange Book' faction & the Conservative pro-business faction - which were the two factions in charge of each party (still are in the Conservatives, not so much in the Lib Dems after an electoral wipeout), leading to the Coalition Government of 2010-2015. A few UKIP members used to be this, but as UKIP policies have become increasingly protectionist, UKIP free-traders have rapidly left - many of them jumping to the Liberal Democrats.
- Conservative/Classical Liberals: Conservative Party, although paradoxically only part of the Conservative Party are actual Conservatives. UKIP also have a lot of archetypal conservatives, mostly those who are very conservative indeed and object to the classical liberals running the Coalition - which is why the free marketeers have been mostly forced out of UKIP.
- The Northern Irish Ulster Unionist Party used to take the Tory whip at Westminster, but that broke down after the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985. Since then, the UUP has had trouble getting elected to Westminster anyway, so even though the parties have reconciled, it's a moot point.
- Progressive Liberals: Liberal Democrats - the Social Liberal Forum faction of the party.
- Additionally, the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland takes the Liberal Democratic whip when elected to Westminster.
- Social Democrats: Labour Party and the Liberal Left faction of the Liberal Democrats - the Liberal Democrats having been formed from a merger of the (classical) Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party at around the time that the Labour Party had moved into the far left of UK Politics.
- The Northern Irish Social Democratic and Labour Party informally takes the Labour whip at Westminster—i.e. they usually vote with Labour, but they are not formally bound to do so. The SDLP is Nationalist in orientation.
- Far Left: Elements of both Labour and the Greens. Labour especially still have backing from many Trade Unions. Other Trade Unions support the Trade Unions and Socialist Coaliliton (TUSC), which is the Far Left's Far Left.
- Greens: Green Party: This one is odd, because there are actually three separate Green Parties: one in England and Wales, another in Scotland (it advocates independence), and another in Northern Ireland (it's Nationalist). Only the England and Wales branch has won seats at Westminster, but all three have won seats in the devolved parliaments/assemblies for Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and London.
- The Green Party is heavily socialist - much moreso nowadays than the Labour Party, leading to jokes about them being watermelons - Green on the outside, Red in the middle.
- Regionalists: Scottish National Party (Scotland), Plaid Cymru (Wales), Mebyon Kernow (Cornwall) - more to the left-wing; English Democrats (England) more to the right-wing. And arguably most parties in Northern Ireland. The Scottish Nationalists are very powerful, being the third largest party in Westminster, Plaid Cymru has a fair bit of power in the Welsh assembly and Mebyon Kernow is a joke to that small percentage of the population that even knows it exists.
- Arguably, the Liberal Democrats as well. Although they are a national party, they are the only one to consistently call for greater devolution to local communities. In fact, most Lib Dems go further than Regional assemblies or Scottish/Welsh Devolution - they want more power in town halls. Given the Classical Liberal faction of the Tories has/had a similar preference for decentralisation (although not devolution), this was one of the policy areas making the Coalition possible. (The Lib Dems, however, also officially advocate for federalism, while the Tories want to keep the unitary state.)
- Right-Wing Populist: Various nationalist and ultra-conservatives. Now united in a coalition called Патриотичен Фронт ("Patriotic Front"):
- Атакаnote - ethno-nationalists, drawing on old Bulgar symbolic by appropriating the symbol of the sky god Tangra (IYI) venerated by ancient Bulgars. Friendly to Putin's Russia, ostensibly due to Russia's role in Bulgaria's liberation and shared Slavic Orthodox values, in reality mostly because of funding. Eurosceptics.
- НФСБnote - Mostly focusing on social policies. Leader Valeri Simeonov is infamous for ableism, ironic Nazi veneration and enforcing strict regulations on things like late-night noise levels and dog muzzles.
- ВМРО-БНДnote - In Name Only self-proclaimed descendant of the eponymous organization. Nationalists, economic libertarians.
- ГЕРБnote - Moderate conservatives. Not very concerned with social policies, they focus on economic patronage of large-scale business enterprises, often causing the ire of small business owners. Externally pro-European but also tries to appease other powerful neighbors such as Russia or Turkey. Americans should think of the traditional Republicans with a leader employing Trump-style "tough-guy man of the people" populism. Infamous for corruption, police brutality and embezzling. Have a very publicised rivalry with the Socialist party (their only real contender for votes), although neither enjoys wide support from the people. note
- ББЦnote - social conservative party founded by an ex-journalist.
- Classical Liberals/Moderate right:
- СДСnote Widely known as "democrats", they were the major driving force behind the liberalisation after the fall of communism and pro-European/pro-American policy. History
- ДСБ note - the splinter of СДС which held onto the party's ideology. They oppose ГЕРБ and claim to be the "true" conservatives (although no one really cares), seeing them as authoritarians and derivatives of the communist party note . History They're now in an alliance with the progressive liberals (see below) with an anti-corruption agenda.
- Progressive Liberals:
- ДПС note - according to the public opinion, In Name Only. History note
- НДСВ note - Garnered power when headed by Bulgaria's former Tzar, but since its very conception has been lured in by БСП and ДПС. History
- ДА, България note - the closest to an American-like liberal formation. Receives similar criticism to Western liberal leftist parties. Together with the Democrats declare elimination of state corruption as their goal.
- Left-Wing Populists:
- БСП note - direct successor of the Bulgarian Communist Party. They draw on Nostalgia Filter to secure the senior vote. History
- АБВ note - The old hardliners of БСП, split in protest of its liberalisation. History note
- Far Left: БКП note Since its fall in 1989-1991 rebranded as БСП. Various new communist parties have been formed with little affiliation to the old one.
- Agrarians: БЗНС note with multiple wings spread all across the moderate political spectrum. History
- Greens: Three parties with limited influence. While there's plenty reasons for joining their cause (Bulgaria has a problem with semi-legal overconstruction in tourist industry and destruction of ecological habitats), their reputation is tarnished by controversies.
- ДОСТ note A splinter of ДПС, cooperates with Turkey allegedly on behalf of the Turkish minority. note
- ОМО-Илинден Пирин note - separatist party insisting that the South-West Pirin region is ethnically Macedonian.
- Right-Wing Populist: Dansk Folkeparti Danish People's Party
- Classical Liberals/Agrarians: Venstre, Danmarks liberale parti (Left, Denmark's Liberal Party): Usually just called Venstre. Got its paradoxical name because when the party was founded the 19th century, it represented the peasants' movement and the left wing of liberal bourgeoisie against Højre ("The Right"), the landed aristocracy and Church of Denmark. Later on the workers got in on the game and were further left than Left, and Høyre died out with the aristocracy, and merged with...
- Conservatives: Det Konservative Folkeparti (The Conservative People's Party): Somewhat unusually, they exist in Denmark and a Christian Democratic party doesn't. They were formed as merger of Højre ("The Right"), who represented the landed aristocracy and Church of Denmark, a moderate (i.e. more to the right) faction of Venstre, and the De Frikonservative ("The Free Conservatives"), who were opposed to Højre's main party line and wanted unity between the moderate sectors of Højre and Venstre around a new tax reform they had proposed, but not getting it they split; they would influence Venstre in not implementing universal suffrage for local elections, but would later split with them of a new democratic constitution, taking that moderate faction of Venstre with them. They are small and these days more or less locked into an alliance with Venstre.
- Progressive Liberals: Det Radikale Venstre (The Radical Left): A breakaway from Venstre that called itself "radical" because it incorporated some leftist ideas.
- Social Democrats: Socialdemokraterne (Social Democrats)
- Left-Wing Populists: Socialistisk Folkeparti (Socialist People's Party)
- Far Left: Enhedslisten (Unity List)
- Right-Wing Populists: Eesti Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond (EKRE) (Estonian Conservative People's Party) - formed after the remnants of the agrarian People's Unionnote merged with a small nationalist group. Led by father and son Mart and Martin Helme. Both have questionable fashion taste, resulting in the treatment of a certain kind of black hat sometimes jokingly, sometimes seriously as a symbol of the far-right in Estonia (not nearly to the levels of the American MAGA caps, though). Initially had negligible support but managed to use the backlash against the 2014 legalisation of civil unions and the 2015 EU refugee quotas to get into the Riigikogu (parliament) and eventually into the 3-way ruling coalition. As part of the government they have pretty much had a scandal every other week, ranging from having to replace four of their ministers for various reasons to insulting other countries.
- Conservatives: Isamaa (literally Fatherland, formerly translated as Pro Patria) - Trying to recapture the glory of the old (and not quite as conservative) Isamaaliit/Pro Patria Union that played a big part in rebuilding Estonia in the 90's, the current incarnation originated as an union of Isamaaliit and another conservative party, Res Publica. While they're represented in the parliament, their support is often under the electoral treshold and they've likely lost many of their former supporters to EKRE (as well as more liberal ones to the Reform Party), but they've been known to have unexpected surges of support during election season.
- Classical Liberals: Eesti Reformierakond (REF) (Estonian Reform Party) - Started as this, but have been moving somewhat towards the centre while becoming one of the "Big Two" parties. Much of their focus is still on economy though and they have a reputation of being the business-oriented party. Are also generally socially liberal, such as supporting gay rights. The longest-serving Prime Minister Andrus Ansip was from Reform; the current leader is Kaja Kallas, daughter of the party's founder Siim Kallas. Nicknamed the squirrels due to their logo depicting a leaping squirrel.
- Doesn't really fit: Eesti Keskerakond (KESK) (Estonian Centre Party) as the name implies, essentially a centre-left party; their electorate is made up of two groups old/retired people and the Russian minority. For a while, helped by most other parties largely ignoring the Russians at the time, the vast majority of Estonian Russians voted for them, to the point KESK came to be seen as pandering to them exclusively and also revealed to have ties to Vladimir Putin's United Russia party which alienated Estonian voters although that also had to do with their controversial founder and longtime leader Edgar Savisaar, who was replaced in 2016 after a corruption investigation. They're the other biggest party. As of 2020, their leader Jüri Ratas holds the Prime Minister seat.
- Progressive Liberals: Eesti 200 (Estonia 200) A newer arrival that more-or-less fits into this niche, a socially liberal party framing itself as a "movement" that has some notable overlap with the Social Democrats while focusing on long-term vision rather than just the next election cycle (hence the name; they were founded the year Estonia turned 100). Narrowly missed out on getting into the Riigikogu in 2019 but later on started beating the Social Dems in ratings.
- Social Democrats: Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond (SDE, generally called Sotsid) (Social Democratic Party) - Self-explanatory; have been occasionally slightly more right-leaning than typical European Social Dems but have also become the main voice for socially liberal, equality-oriented policies, particularly after EKRE showed up since they're pretty much ideological opposites. Before Eesti 200 was created, they were the only party besides the Centrists that focused on the Russian minority specifically rather than just treating them as part of the general electorate. They often struggle competing for the centre-left votes with the Centre Party.
- The Greens: Erakond Eestimaa Rohelised (EER) (Estonian Greens) a small party that generally hovers below the electoral treshold and not represented in the parliament currently, they actually got into the Riigikogu once in 2007 right after they were created. More recently, they've been focusing on raising awareness and getting the other parties to adopt environmentally-friendly initiatives.
- There are also a couple of smaller, largely irrelevant parties none of which are in the Riigikogu: Elurikkuse Erakond (Biodiversity Party) and Eesti Vabaerakond (EVE) (Estonian Free Party) who are floating the idea of a merger, possibly also including the Greens (the Free Party were in the parliament briefly); the anti-EU, far-right Eestimaa Iseseisvuspartei (EIP) (Estonian Independence Party) and Eestimaa Ühendatud Vasakpartei (EÜVP) (Estonian United Left Party) which falls under Far Left.
- Right-Wing Populist: Perussuomalaiset (PS) (True Finns)
- Christian Democrats: Suomen Kristillisdemokraatit (KD) (Finnish Christian Democrats)
- Progressive Liberals: Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party)
- Social Democrats: Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue (SDP) (Social Democratic Party of Finland)
- Greens: Vihreä liitto (Green League)
- Far Left: Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance)
- Harder to classify: Suomen Keskusta (The Center Party, or literally "Finland's Center Party")
- Mainly an agrarian party by its roots but they also consider themselves centrists. They tend to, however, be classified as liberal in Finland; slightly to the right of center, which is why a coalition government between the Coalition Party and the Center Party is still called porvarihallitus (capitalist government). They are not a typical liberal party, though. They are very popular in the countryside which gives them a strong base.
- Far Right: Front National (FN) (National Front)
- Right-wing Populists: Front National (FN) (National Front) again, or at least its offshoot Rassemblement Bleu Marine (RBM) (Navy Blue Rally) established by Marine Le Pen, who became leader of the FN in 2011 (do you see the pun?). Ever since she took the leadership, the party has tried to distance itself from the worst parts of its history (links with WWII collaborators, antisemitism and xenophobia...) and instead presented itself as a party founded by veterans of the French resistance (which has been proven untrue). It was actually founded by members of a neo-fascist movement called "Ordre Nouveau"note
- Conservatives: Les Republicains (LR) (The Republicans). Formerly Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) (Union for a Popular Movement)
- Recently, a new party was formed : the Union des Démocrates et Indépendants (UDI) (Union of Democrats and Independents), which seems like a small coalition of (usually moderate) Conservatives, Classical Liberals, Christian Democrats, and some right-leaning Progressive Liberals. They're all allies of the UMP, anyway. Basically it's virtually the Spiritual Successor of the old UDF which was the textbook definition of Christian Democrats.
- Christian Democrats: Mouvement démocrate (MoDem) (Democratic Movement).note Arguably the UDI since it's a coalition with several centrist components. Technically, one could probably also count Christine Boutin's Parti Chrétien-Démocrate (PCD) (Christian-Democratic Party).note
- Classical Liberals: En Marche, a movement led by President Emmanuel Macron that split off from the Parti Socialiste. Known for being europhile and favoring moderate austerity, but still primarily a platform for their leader (the fact that the party's initials are EM is not a coincidence).
- Progressive Liberals: Mouvement démocrate (MoDem) (Democratic Movement),note En Marche,note Parti Radical de Gauche (Radical Party of the Left). note The other half of the historical Parti Radical, officially called Parti Radical and known as Parti Radical Valoisien (after the location of its headquarters, rue de Valois) to distinguish it from the PRG, used to be part of the UMP and is a founding member of the UDI.
- Social Democrats: Parti Socialiste (PS) (Socialist Party). Ironically enough, only the more leftist wing of the party, known as les frondeurs (the rebels) in France, qualifies nowadays. They were more or less successful at challenging the authority of the official PS government. As of 2017, the party has almost completely collapsed on a national level, with En Marche having taken most of its place and the dust still settling on what's left.
- Greens: Europe Écologie — Les Verts (EELV) (Europe Ecology — The Greens) Plus a bunch of splinter centrist parties like Cap 21 or Le Trèfle. EELV itself is technically a coalition between the historical anti-growth Greens and the Europe Ecologie list that did quite well at the 2009 European parliamentary election.
- Left-wing Populists : La France Insoumise (Unbowed France), Parti Communiste Francaise (Communist Party, in a reluctant alliance with LFI)
- Far Left: Two minor parties that are even farther left than the ones above.
- Far Right: ''Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands: Die Volksunion" (National Democratic Party of Germany: The People's Union). Heavily infiltrated by the BfV, the German internal security service—to the point where it is accused of being a Flock of Wolves—just in case...
- Right-Wing Populists: Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) (Alternative for Germany): A right-wing breakaway of the CDU/CSU (see below) which is mildly Eurosceptic (calling for an end to the euro but keeping the EU) and has a somewhat muddled attitude toward immigration. Basically, Germany's UKIP.
- Classical Liberals: Freie demokratische Partei (FDP) (Free Democratic Party)
- Christian Democrats: Christlich demokratische Union Deutschlands (CDU) (Christian Democratic Union of Germany), except in Bavaria where they're called the Christlich-soziale Union in Bayern (CSU) (Christian Social Union of Bavaria)
- Pirates: Piratenpartei Deutschland (PIRATEN) (Pirate Party of Germany): One of the more successful Pirate Parties in Europe.
- Social Democrats: 'Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) (Social Democratic Party of Germany)
- Greens: Bündnis '90/Die Grünen (Alliance '90/The Greens): One of Europe's more successful Green parties, at least in part because it is more or less firmly dominated by its Realo faction and has consistently sought to join coalitions. This is helped by the "Alliance '90" part; the party in its current form is the result of the merger of "Alliance '90", one of the political parties that formed in East Germany's last year (1990), that, although green-oriented, had a lot of other issues it cared about, too. The German Greens' success is also attributable to the fact that they are by far the SPD's preferred coalition partners; they were the junior partner in the SPD-led governments of Gerhard Schröder in 1998-2005, have been in numerous coalitions with the SPD as junior partners in several state governments, and when the Greens won their first-ever mandate to lead a state government themselves (in Baden-Württemberg in 2011), the SDP was pretty gracious about playing second fiddle in the coalition.
- Far Left: Die Linke (The Left): The successor to the SED that governed the former East Germany, and the majority of their support still comes from that region. The modern party is a coalition between open Marxist-Leninists and more moderate left-wingers.
Greece has seen a major political shake-up since the beginning of the economic crisis, with the party system being distinctly in flux.
- Far Right: Chrysi Augi (XA) (Golden Dawn): Who have been accused of being Nazis, but not without justification. Look at their flag! (And their long record of Hitler fanboyism, and their hatred of minorities...)
- Right-Wing Populists: Anexartitoi Ellines (ANEL) (Independent Greeks): Anti-austerity, Eurosceptic breakaway party of New Democracy (see below) founded in the wake of the economic crisis.
- Conservatives: Nea Demokratia (ND) (New Democracy)
- Social Democrats: Panellenio Sosialistiko Kinema (PASOK) (Panhellenic Socialist Movement)
- Progressive Democrats: To Potami (TP) (The River): Arguably Social Democratic, but definitely centrist. Founded in 2014 by journalist Stavros Theodorakis and capitalizes on his popularity, it's centrist, wavers between social democracy and left-liberalism, and is pro-European, with a focus on combating corruption.
- Far Left: Three parties:
- Synaspismos Rizospastikis Aristeras (SYRIZA) (Coalition of the Radical Left); includes the Greens. Managed to get a plurality in the 2015 election by advocating for renegotiation of the terms of the EU bailout (to allow for an easing of austerity) and governs in conjunction with ANEL (which, despite differences on virtually every other issue, agrees with SYRIZA on crisis-related economic matters).
- Kommounistiko Komma Elladas (KKE) (Communist Party of Greece)
- Dimokratiki Aristera (DIMAR) (Democratic Left); a center-left to left breakaway from SYRIZA that split with the main party to provide limited but much-needed support to an ND-led grand coalition during the debt crisis. Completely wiped out in the 2015 election.
Previously Laikós Orthódoxos Synagermós (LAIOS) (Popular Orthodox Rally)—who emphasized Greek Orthodox identity—occupied the Far-Right seat, but XA out-righted them, and LAIOS has faded into obscurity. Now people who found LAIOS distasteful are sort of sad to see them go.
Cyprus is a weird one, and not only because the country is currently divided and left in limbo; parties didn't really exist for the first 20 years of the Republic (keep in mind that the country was funded in 1960), and a bunch of them was created because someone noticed that it's weird not to have them (okay, the Communist Party existed in some form before 1960, but only that one). The composition of the parliament of the Republic of Cyprus, which controls the south part and it's elected by the Greek Cypriots is as follows:
- Right-wing Populists: EVROKO (Evropaïkó Kómma - European Party): Former Christian Democrats (see below) that left because they disagreed with the latters' support for the 2004 Reunification Plan, which they saw as a bad deal. Now slowly being dissolved and absorbed by extra-parliamentary parties.
- Christian Democrats / Convservatives : DISY (Dimokratikós Sinagermós - Democratic Rally): Quite a big family, being one of the two big parties. Range from Ultra-conservative ultra-religious nationalists to neoliberals (some of them being noticeably more progressive that the rest of the party). As of March 2013, they are the government.
- Centrist: DIKO (Dimokratikó Kómma): The third biggest party, essentially acting as the king maker. Despite their bursts of nationalism, they will go for any party that offers them a good deal in a coalition.
- Social-Democrats: EDEK (used to be an acronym, not anymore): They are the fourth largest party and despite their commitment to social democracy, they spend their time trying to become the next king makers, by engaging in quasi-right-wing populism (no, don't think of Nazis, just a smaller DIKO)
- Communists: AKEL (Anrthotikó Kómma Ergazómenou Laoú - Progressive Party of Working People), The other one of the Two Big parties; not really communist - don't worry, they suspended their goal for a socialist state long ago. In practice, they are social democratic at best. For a party calling itself "progressive", it's also quite conservative, at least in comparison to social democrats in the rest of Europe. Currently being in denial about how bad their reign in government was (2008 to 2013).
Like Poland below and Austria to a degree, Hungarian politics is a few ticks to the right. At the same time, the continuing legacy of both Communist rule and World War II have left their peculiar mark in the alignment.
- Far Right: Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom (Jobbik) (Movement for a Better Hungary), the Hungarian equivalent to the British National Party and Golden Dawn.
- Conservative/Right-Wing Populist: Fidesz - Magyar Polgári Szövetség (Fidesz) (Fidesz Hungarian Civic Union), originally an anti-Communist youth movement, now the currently dominant party in the country. Has always been led by Viktor Orbán, who was also a Vice President in the European People's Party for 10 years and the youngest democratically elected Hungarian prime minister in 1998. Orbán scares the pants off other European leaders for his movement toward the hard right, to the point of questioning the values of liberal democracy (a Fidesz-backed new Hungarian constitution came under serious scrutiny for its encroachment on human rights).
- Christian Democrats: Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt (KDNP) (Christian Democratic People's Party)
- Social Democrats: Magyar Szocialista Párt (MSZP) (Hungarian Socialist Party), founded by former members of the Cold War-era Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party after the end of Communist rule.
- Far Left: Magyar Munkáspárt(Hungarian Workers' Party), an explicitly Communist party formed by other ex-Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party members.
See Irish Political System for a complete breakdown. The Irish system is strange because of the two "main" parties, only one relatively neatly fits into the traditional spectrum. This is because the main parties descent from the Pro-Treaty and Anti-Treaty factions in The Irish Civil War, and developed more as political machines than anything with any kind of coherent ideology. Eventually, the parties did gain some sort of principle, but not much. Like Poland below, Ireland's politics are heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, which has historically pulled things a few ticks to the right; this was for a long time supported by Ireland's heavily rural character. Finally, The Troubles figure heavily into Irish identity and politics.
- Outside the spectrum, but Classical Liberal if someone put a gun to their heads: Fianna Fáil (inevitably called that in English; means "Warriors of Ireland"). One of the two "main" parties. It's essentially more of a political machine than a "party" in the conventional sense, and doesn't have any particular ideology to speak of. As such, it is favoured by the business elite even though they are more populist than anything else. Descended from the Anti-Treaty faction.
- Christian Democrats: Fine Gael (inevitably called that in English; means "Family of the Irish"). The other "main" party, this one more or less is Christian Democratic—and very Catholic. Descended from the Pro-Treaty faction.
- Social Democrats: Labour Party. Joined at the hip to Fine Gael, as despite their radically different views on social policy, they are in accord in their economic views (FG takes Catholic social teaching, which is actually quasi-social-democratic economics, very seriously).
- Far-Left: Two parties, from two different sub-traditions:
- Sinn Féin (inevitably called that in English; means "We Ourselves"). Claims descent from the original Sinn Féin Nationalist movement. Socialist and fiercely, fiercely Nationalist. Formerly the political wing of the Provisional IRA, now a Eurosceptic far-left party.
- United Left Alliance: A grouping of three far-left groups, without the same links to Nationalism as Sinn Fein.
- Green: Green Party. Formerly allies of Fianna Fáil. Now wiped out.
- Far Right/Regionalist: Lega Nord (LN) (Northern League): As their name implies, they are only found in the northern part of the country; they want either more autonomy for it or complete independence. What bigotry they have is mostly directed at southern Italians—whom they regard as backwards, lazy, and a drain on the country—rather than foreigners (although they hardly get a free pass).
- Classical Liberals: Forza Italia ("Go, Italy!") a.k.a. "Silvio Berlusconi's party".
- Christian Democrats: Unione di Centro (UdC) (Centre Union)
- Progressive Liberals: Italia dei Valori (IdV) (Italy of Values)
- Social Democrats: Partito Democratico (PD) (Democratic Party): Although this is an odd one, since they could equally well be considered Progressive Liberals; they formed from a merger of various centrist and centre-left parties, some of which were Progressive Liberals, and some of which were social democrats (one major faction, the Democrats of the Left, descended directly from the Communist Party of the Cold War years). The "Democratic Party" label was an explicit reference to the American one, but PD MEPs sit with the Social Democrats—although the EP group changed its name to accomodate the fact that the PD was not entirely social democratic.
- Far Left/Green: Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (SEL) (Left Ecology Freedom): In a fairly solid alliance with the PD—they're allowed to run someone in the election for who will be the PD candidate for Prime Minister.
- Regionalist: Südtiroler Volkspartei (SVP) (South Tyrolean People's Party): Party for the German- and Ladinian-speaking people in Alto Adige/South Tyrol; also numerous parties in the Aosta Valley.
- Just Plain Weird: Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S). A party founded by comedian Beppe Grillo on the idea of being "above politics." The party advocates for Euroscepticism, environmentalism and direct democracy, and generally refuses to cooperate with anyone else. Beyond that, what exactly they want is still unclear.
- Far Right/Right-Wing Populist:
- Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) (Party for Freedom). Opinions can vary wildly on wether the PVV is Far Right or Right-Wing Populist, depending on whether party leader Geert Wilders' most recent Muslim-baiting has been bad enough to make the news.
- Forum voor Democratie (FvD) (Forum for Democracy)
- Classical Liberals: Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (VVD) (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy)
- Christian Democrats: Christen-Democratisch Appél (CDA) (Christian Democratic Appeal)
- Progressive Liberals: Democraten '66 (D66) (Democrats '66)
- Social Democrats: Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA) (Labour Party)
- Greens: GroenLinks (Green-Left)
- Far Left: Socialistische Partij (SP) (Socialist Party)
On account of its low electoral threshold and purely proportional electoral system, the Netherlands also has a tradition of "testimonial parties": fringe and special-interest parties who seek seats in parliament to make a statement rather than obtain political power. Currently, three such parties have representation: Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij (SGP) (Reformed Political Party, representing the hardcore conservative Reformed folks of the Dutch "Bible Belt" advocating for Biblically-based government; most notably openly states women and men are "of equal value but not equal to men" and excluded women from membership until 2006), Partij voor de Dieren (Pvd D) (Party for the Animals; animal-rights), and 50PLUS (pensioners' interest).
Norway developed a political party system after the rise of parliamentarism in 1884. The oldest parties were established around that time. For years the only two parties worth mentioning were the classical liberals (the right) and the progressive liberals (the left), of which the latter is the oldest and has the first elected prime minister in Norwegian history. From this party sprang both the christian democrats and the Farmers party/the centre party. The Labour party arose from the growing unions, and soon set a wedge between the liberals, until they took over completely in 1935. They have largely had the momentum ever since. The Socialist left broke off from the Labour party in 1960 because of disagreement over the NATO membership, while communists broke out as early as in 1923. The modern far left is formed from the Norwegian student uprising in 1968. In 1973 the Progress Party showed up under a different name (Anders Langes Party), getting votes from discontented right-wingers and Pre-War supporters of the Nationalist League; The Fatherland League.
- Right-wing Populists (National Conservatives): Fremskrittspartiet (FrP) (The Progress Party, formerly Anders Langes Party). Arose in 1973 as a party to cut taxes, fees, public expenses and remove government regulations. Has a notably colorful history with many twists and turns, being a "one man party" for many years, first during Anders Lange and then again under Carl I. Hagen. The party is National Conservative in nature, but remains effectively neutral on the EU question. The party is a spiritual successor to the Pre-War Nationalist coalition: The Fatherland League. Since the beginning they've been feuding with pretty much every other party but under the leadership of Siv Jensen (current head of the party) they've managed to establish a working if shaky alliance with The Progressive Liberals in Venstre and the Classical Liberals in Høyre.
- Classical Liberals: Høyre (Conservative Party or "The Right"). Gathered support from the merchants in the cities, the wealthy businessmen and the old elite. Pro-EU. Was shaped from the old official elite that opposed parliamentarism, which was instigated from the Left wing.
- Christian Democrats: Kristelig Folkeparti (KrF) (Christian People's Party). Sprang out of the classical liberals, with a strong support in the south west, where the laymen`s christianity is strong. Preaches strongly on family values. Pro EOC, against EU. They have a long running Feud with the Progress Party thanks to their pro-immigration and Pro-foreign aid stances.
- Farmer`s Party/the center party: Senterpartiet (SP) Niche party for rural interests. When this party is in government, the farmers usually get a bigger share of the national budget. Against EU and the EOC.
- Progressive Liberals: Venstre (Liberal Party "Left"). Known for the longest party history, and for most of the fractionism. Has split up and reformed time and again. It is said about this party that the party members never agree on anything. Last split was after the EEC referendum, when the party lost half it`s members to a new liberal party that never made it. Today, the support for the EU still threatens to disrupt what is left of the party.
- Social Democrats: Arbeiderpartiet (Worker's Party). The former centre of power in Norway,during their golden years (following WW2) they ruled the country single handedly. Pro EU officially, with a strong anti wing to the left.
- Far Left: Sosialistisk Venstreparti (SV) (Socialist Left Party). Broke off the Labour party in 1960 after heavy disputes over the NATO question. Been a staunch opposition party ever since, but softened up after getting in government from 2005. Most astounding feature is kicking the Labour party out of position in 1963 with two men in parliament. Usually the party for students, university people and teachers. Against the EU. They have a long running feud with the Progress Party as the two are diagonally opposite.
- Fringe left: Rødt: Actually a coalition between different socialist and communist alliances like the red voter alliance and the former Worker`s Communist Party (AKP -ml: The marxist-leninists). The old Communist Party from 1923 is still kicking, but is held out of the loop. All those parties are opposed to an EU membership.
- Outside of blocks: The Greens (MDG). Came in as a branch of a bigger environmental movement with related parties in many countries. Has recently gained one seat in parliament. In recent years they've been trying but with limited success to join the Left Block.
Contrary to other European countries, the question of EU membership gains the greatest support in the centre and moderate right (with the "Centre Party" as a weird exception from that rule). The left wing is more opposed the further left one gets, and the far right refuses to take sides (By now, every party has a majority against, even the traditional right, making the party elites more "pro" than the common folk regardless of political leanings). The usual rule in Europe is to find the anti EU leanings to the right. One of the reasons Norway is labelled "backwards country".
Note: The influence of the Catholic Church moves Poland's politics a few ticks to the right from the rest of the pack, hence the unusual alignment.
- Far Right: Koalicja Odnowy Rzeczypospolitej Wolność i Nadzieja (Coalition for the Renewal of the Republic - Liberty and Hope) — classical liberal party. All about reducing the state to basic functions, minimal taxes and complete deregulation. They're also socially conservative and extremely Eurosceptic. The newest in a long string of parties led by Janusz Korwin-Mikke,note a politician and pundit very open about his hatred of democracy. Eternally outside of the Sejm, aside from being present in the first term of office, but highly popular on the Internet. As of late 2014, their leader became a MEP, and until 2015 they had a sole Sejm representative, who defected from PiS.
- Right-wing Populists( National Conservatives): Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice) — Combines social conservatism, populist leftist economics (higher taxes on the rich,note overt Catholic Church influence, lowering the retirement age, occasionally talks about nationalising banks), mild Euroscepticism (keen on getting EU money, but not so keen on following EU directives), and a tough stance on law and order, particularly corruption. Spent the years 2007-2015 in opposition due to their tiresomely aggressive rhetorics, but making a comeback now that the economy is in trouble and Middle Eastern immigration became a closer (but still relatively unlikely) possibility. Infamous for accusing the government of conspiring with Russia to assassinate the PiS-aligned former president (who was party leaders twin brother), who died in a plane crash (see: Conspiracy Theories).
- Solidarna Polska (United Poland): A copy of PiS started by MPs who were kicked out of PiS for questioning the leadership. Basically PiS with less conspiracy theorism and the odium of splitting the right, and as such aren't terribly popular. Tried to eke out some votes by aligning with conservative elements in the Church. After poor perfomance in 2014 European Parliament election it got re-absorbed into PiS in all but name.
- Kukiz'2015: new force created by Paweł Kukiz, a well-known punk singer from the 90s, has emerged in the year of 2015. This political party does everything in their power to not fit into any category, by promising "a wide ideological front". That said they are mostly an amalgamation of various free market libertarian and nationalist activists, including the ones from the National Movement, that gathered together under Kukiz to pass the 5% threshold. Entered the parliament following the 2015 parliamentary election. Generally willing to play ball with Pi S on most issues, but opposed to their vastly increased social spending.
- Classical Liberals: Platforma Obywatelska (Civic Platform): PO is considered to be to the left of PiS. It traditionally supports free markets,note and has a moderate social conservative stance, though it contains both Progressive Liberal and conservative wings. A few members of both factions have defected to the RP and PT (see below). PO and PiS have been the two major parties since about 2005.
- .Nowoczesna (.Modern): Centrist party with a stronger focus on supporting free markets and reducing the state than PO has. Aspires to replace PO as the major party opposing PiS. Founded in 2015 by economist Ryszard Petru; entered the parliament following the 2015 parliamentary election.
- Polska Razem (Poland Together): Libertarian-ish, social conservative party started by a few conservative MPs who were kicked out of PO. Absorbed into PiS in all but name following the party's poor perfomance in 2014 European Parliament election.
- Progressive Liberals: Twój Ruch (Your Movement), formerly known as Ruch Palikota (Palikot's Movement): A socially-liberal party established by Janusz Palikot, The Gadfly of Polish politics, formerly a PO Member of the Sejm. Rode into parliament in 2011 on a wave of discontent with the Church. Left the parliament in 2015 after an internal split between socialist and liberal fractions, losing the majority of its voters and forming an electoral alliance with SLD (see below) and few smaller left-wing parties, as said alliance failed to reach 8% electoral threshold required for electoral alliances. Notably featured the first openly gay and transgender MPs (until the former got elected as the mayor of Słupsk and left Parliament, and the latter decided to join Greens instead).
- Greens or Zieloni (there are some other Green movements) have failed in every election they started in, but like KORWiN above they had a sole representative in the Parliament until 2015 - the aforementioned transgender woman Anna Grodzka.
- Social Democrats: Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej (Democratic Left Alliance): An amalgamation of several leftist parties, most of which traced their descent from the PZPR (Polish United Workers' Party), which was The Party in the Communist days. Mostly seen as a club of old communists trying to hold on to power at the cost of actual leftist ideology. Lost most of their influence in 2005 after a massive corruption scandal. After years of being too busy with in-fighting to convey a coherent stance on anything, seems to be moving to the right on economics; its leader is more of a classical liberal. Tries to avoid expressing any opinions on social issues, so as not to alienate older voters, which has been exploited by Twój Ruch. Left the parliament in 2015 for the first time in Polish history after 1989 as a result of forming electoral alliance with Twój Ruch and few smaller left-wing parties and failing to reach electoral threshold required for the electoral alliances.
- Partia Razem (Together Party) - social democrats with strong focus on supporting social market economy and welfare state. The party was founded in 2015; in the 2015 parliamentary election it did not join the aforementioned electoral alliance of SLD and Twój Ruch, registering its own lists of candidates in electoral districts instead. Although mostly unknown for most of the campaign, the strong performence of their leader in a televised electoral debate led them to a surge in support. The party failed to reach the electoral threshold of 5% of the votes required for the parties to have a representation in the parliament — and probably took a few percent from SLD that prevented them from entering too — but it did attract enough votes to be eligible for a subsidy from state budget.
- Agrarians: Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe (Polish People's Party) — Approximately Social Democrat, but more socially conservative (are you noticing a pattern by now?) and with a specific focus on agriculture and support for small farmers. Has a reputation for nepotism and being willing to get into a coalition with just about anybody.note Also disproportionately strong in local governments and institutions (mostly due to aformentioned nepotism).
- Right Wing Populist: Chega (Enough)
- Classical Liberals:
- Partido Social Democrata (PSD) (Social Democrat Party), has this name because they were Social Democrats until the '80s. The more moderate faction (and there are many, including The Renmant of the old Social Democrats) may be considered to some extent Progressive Liberals.
- Iniciativa Liberal (Liberal Initiative)
- Christian Democrats/Right-wing Populists/Agrarians: Centro Democrático Social - Partido Popular (CDS-PP) (Democratic and Social Center - People's Party), had a more populist streak during the Manuel Monteiro and Paulo Portas eras (the latter, more the first mandate and the first part of the second). During the Portas era (idem), also adopted an Agrarian discourse around the lavoura ("tillage") and started visiting lots of farmers' markets while campaigning (Portas himself was called Paulinho das Feiras, "Little Paul of the Farmers' Markets"), which still does today.
- Social Democrats:
- Partido Socialista (PS) (Socialist Party)
- LIVRE (FREE)
- Partido Ecologista "Os Verdes" (PEV) (Ecologist Party "The Greens"), in a permanent coalition with the Communists, so somewhat overlapping with the Far Left.
- PessoasAnimaisNatureza (PAN) (PeopleAnimalsNature), which is more focused on animal rights but does not throw out other areas of the environment.
- Far Left:
- Communists: Partido Comunista Português (PCP) (Portuguese Communist Party)
- Left-Wing Populists: Bloco de Esquerda (BE) (Left Block)
See Russian Political System for details
- Far Right: DPNI ("the Movement to Counteract Illegal Immigration", an outlawed party)
- Right Wing Populist: Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (looks far-right, but in fact populist all bark and no bite)
- Classical Liberals: Right Cause (a dwarf party), Another Russia (also outlawed)
- Conservatives: United Russia: This one is The Party, supporting Vladimir Putin whatever he does. It controls everything, but given Putin's popularity this isn't unexpected. Just really annoying and suspicious.
- Progressive Liberals: Yabloko ("Apple Party") (not important enough to ban)
- Social Democrats: A Just Russia
- Far Left: Left Front (an outlawed party)
- Don't Fit In: Communist Party of the Russian Federation (a blend of social-democrat and conservative).
- Really Don't Fit In: The National Bolsheviks. Basically worship Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union with a healthy dose of Russian nationalist imagery. Strongly anti west whom they accuse of imperialism, while also advocating Russia's greater role in the world. Swear that they're far left, but are alienated from Communist groups due to their lack of concern for Marxist economic theory and reactionary social views. The far right hates them for hijacking some of their imagery and supporting regimes they associate with the Judaeo-Bolshevik conspiracy. (Esentially people trying to turn the horseshoe theory into an actual ideology, and humorously getting alienated from both extreme groups).
Most parties straddle categories, mostly because the left and right wings are defined by a party's stance on World War II (left if siding with communists, right if siding with Nazi sympathizers). That being said:
- Right-Wing Populist: Slovene National Party (SNS) and the Slovene Democratic Party (SDS), the latter overlapping somewhat with Christian Democrats.
- Christian Democrats: Slovene People's Party (SLS) and New Slovenia (NSi), although the latter's ideas on the economy align more with those of classical liberals.
- Progressive Liberals: Formerly Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) and now, all of the succeeding instant created-before-the-elections parties such as Positive Slovenia (PS), Party of the Modern Centre (SMC), or List of Marjan arec (LM) as well as the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS).note
- Social Democrats: The aptly-named Social Democrats (SD).
- Left-Wing Populist: The Left (Levica).
- Right-Wing Populists: Vox.
- Conservatives: Partido Popular (PP) (People's Party).
- Classical Liberals/Neoliberals: Ciudadanos (Citizens).
- Progressive Liberals: Unión Progreso y Democracia (UPyD) (Union for Progress and Democracy).
- Social Democrats: Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) (Spanish Socialist Worker's Party).
- Left-Wing Populist: Podemos (We Can).
- Far Left: Izquierda Unida (IU) (United Left). Recently merged into a coalition with Podemos named Unidos Podemos (United We Can).
- Regionalist: Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) (Democratic Convergence of Catalonia; Conservative, formerly in coalition Convergència i Unió (CiU) — Convergence and Union — alongside Christian Democrats Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) — Democratic Union of Catalonia—) and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) (Republican Left of Catalonia, Social Democrats) in Catalonia are the biggest two. Several regional parties exist for the other autonomous communities of Spain, the most notable being the Conservative Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea / Partido Nacionalista Vasco (EAJ/PNV) (Basque Nationalist Party) in the Basque Country and Navarre.
Sweden has, since 1971, a unicameral legislature known as the Riksdag with 349 seats and proportional representation. Beginning in 1994, elections are held in September every four years, with the last held in 2014 and the next to be held in 2018. The electoral threshold to receive seats in the Riksdag is 4 per cent.
- Right-wing Populists: Sverigedemokraterna (SD) (Sweden Democrats). Started in 1988 as a radical Far Right fringe group by persons with Neo-Nazi connections. Since the mid-1990's (and particulary during the tenure of their current leader, Jimmie Åkesson from 2005 and onwards) they have consciously distanced themselves from the past and have steadily moved towards becoming a Right-Wing Populist party, with the Danish Peoples' Party as the role model (and becoming members in the same European Parliament group as UKIP in 2014). They passed the electoral threshold to the Riksdag in the 2010 general election and more than doubled their seats in the 2014 general election. Since 2011 they call themselves a "social conservative party on a nationalist foundation", but opponents have called them racists, and even Neo-Fascists.
- The Sweden Democrats are treated as a pariah by all the other established parties, who thus far (despite instituting a de facto cordon saniataire in December 2014, known as the "December Agreement") have been unable to stop the growing appeal among the electorate (both center-left and center-right voters) for the Sweden Democrats.
- The Sweden Democrats have historically been particularly popular in Scania and Blekinge, the southernmost part of Sweden (near Denmark, and part of Denmark until 1658), and in rural areas in general. Although this remains their strongest areas of support, the SD have grown in all parts of the country, including the traditionally red (i.e. areas where the social democrats used to have a clear majority of their own) northern parts of the country.
- Scandinavia and the World had this to say about SD's first entry into the Riksdag.
- Classical Liberals: Moderaterna (Moderate Party). The once conservative party, known as the "Party of the Right" prior to 1971; nowadays they are mainstream liberals, but still perceived to be the party of big business, entrepreneurs and the upper class establishment of old. For many years, their main issue was advocating lower taxes, weakening the influence of the trade unions and dismantling the welfare state created by the Social Democrats, in order to generate greater growth to the economy, or feathering the nests of the rich. This was not popular among the voters, so within the latest decade, they cleverly rebranded their declaratory message by adopting the rhetoric of the Social Democrats, while still in action pursuing the same goals as before at a lesser reform pace. Opponents have claimed that they have become more like a PR and advertising agency rather than a traditional political party.
- The vehicle of their power in later years has been through the "Alliance for Sweden" (or simply the "Alliance") partnership; with the Centre Party, Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats; which in effect created a single center-right cartel. In the past, beginning in the late 1950s, the Social Democrats could always point to the disunity and party parochialism among the divided center-right opposition while the Social Democrats could always rely on the tacit unconditional support from the communists (and the Green Party from 1994 to 2006) to either gain a majority or a plurality of votes. Nevertheless, for the duration of the Alliance government (2006-2014), the junior partners have become smaller and smaller. Not to mention the rise of the Sweden Democrats, who have capitalized on the conservative void left by the largely unidirectional mainstream liberalism offered by the Alliance.
- Classical Liberals: Centerpartiet (C) (Centre Party). Formerly the Agrarian Party, the party has within the last two decades gone from being the tired old useful idiots to the Social Democrats without any passion other than to maintain the status quo: to the (by rhetoric) most ideologically driven pro-business party led by a young woman (Annie Lööf) with Ayn Rand as her favorite author and Margaret Thatcher as her political inspiration. This shift of gear makes them an easy target of parody. They also compete with the Green Party for the environmentalist vote, even though the Centres proposals are clearly more the result of greenwash corporate lobbyists than any genuine concerns
- Christian Democrats: Kristdemokraterna (KD) (Christian Democrats). Hailing from the Pentecostal movement dissatisfied by the other too secular parties in the 1960's, they have gone from outsiders to insiders. Some would claim that they have lost their Christian identity in the process while becoming part of the secular Swedish establishment. Even though they often talk about the common people and common values in their rhetoric, opponents would say they are hypocritical careerists who only care about their own paycheck. Popular in and around the Swedish bible belt in the province of Småland.
- Progressive Liberals: Folkpartiet Liberalerna (FP) (Liberal People's Party). University educated city-dwelling elitist snobs with a smug sense of moral superiority who thinks that they always know what is best for everyone, or small town folks (typically teachers and small business owners) who look up to and want to be like the people in the first category. In any case, they are enthusiastic supporters of The European Union and desperately want Sweden to adopt the Euro (despite a refendum held in 2003 where a clear majority of Swedes voted Nay).
- Social Democrats: formally Sveriges Socialdemokratiska arbetarparti (SAP) (Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party), more commonly known as Socialdemokraterna (Social Democrats). They were the dominant party in Sweden for much of the 20th Century, ruling consecutively between 1932-1976, 1982-1991 and 1994-2006. Their strength has been built upon an over a century long marriage with the influential Labor Trade Union Confederation, LO. Their successful efforts once they first came in office has led many gullible voters to believe that it was the Social Democrats alone who took the country from poverty to prosperity during the first and mid-half part of the 20th century. Nevertheless, their percentage in the number of voters has weakened, particularly in the last twenty years. They have also had difficulties in electing a viable party leader within the last decade and it is unclear where the party stands on many issues.
- Back in power, but weaker than ever, since 2014.
- Greens: Miljöpartiet de gröna (MP) (Environmental Party of the Greens). The party of political correctness by default, they do not even have a single leader, but rather one man and one woman as their spokespersons in the interest of gender balance. The Green Party often gets a free pass from journalists compared with any other party because that profession is clearly overrepresented among its voters. The main problem of the Green Party is that they want to appear as both informed insiders and outside radicals at the same time, but at a point, something is going to have to give. Traditionally, the typical voter was a new-age believer or other alternative lifestyle bohemian. Now, it is a university student or a city-dwelling member of the middle class who, in order to overcome any guilt of conscience for their wasteful lifestyle, votes for the Greens.
- Currently in a minority government coalition with the Social Democrats since 2014.
- Pirates: Piratpartiet (Pirate Party). Gained seats in the 2009 European Parliament elections but lost them in 2014. The party with emphasis on IT issues and wanting in essence to scrap existing copyright legislation as a lame excuse for defending illegal file sharing on the Internet. Their breakthrough came amidst the public debates on SIGINT surveillance and the trials of The Pirate Bay founders.
- Left-Wing Populists/Far Left: Vänsterpartiet (Left Party). Formerly the communist party, they want to market themselves as a contemporary leftist party without the Soviet and East German connotations of the past. They are statists, anti-business, pro-regulation and staunch defenders of an ever-growing general welfare system financed by high taxes. If you name any modern progressive discourse in vogue at university humanities or social science departments, the Left Party is likely to have embraced it: and that might be their key problem, they do not want to choose between being elitist or populist..
- Far Left: Feministiskt initiativ (F!) (Feminist Initiative). A Far Left party, founded by the former leader of the Left Party, Gudrun Schyman, with intersectional feminism as their cornerstone. Wants to re-educate the entire male population.
Switzerland is really funny, as it has been governed by an all-party coalition of the four major parties (SVP, FDP, CVP, SP) called the "magic formula" since 1959, with the seat distribution on the Federal Council (the seven-member Cabinet that also serves as Switzerland's collective head of state) changing only very slightly on the basis of who gets more seats in the Federal Assembly.
- Right-wing Populists: Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP) (Swiss People's Party), started as an Agrarian party and moved to the Right under chairman Christoph Blocher.
- Their part is taken over in the Italian speaking Cantons by the Lega dei Ticinesi (Ticino League, similar to the Lega Nord) and more recently in the French speaking Cantons, especially in Geneva, by the Mouvement Citoyens Genevois (MCG) (Geneva Citizens' Movement).
- Classical Liberals: FDP.Die Liberalen (FDP. The Liberals)
- Conservatives: Bürgerlich-Demokratische Partei (BDP) (Civic-Democratic Party), an offshoot of the SVP.
- Christian Democrats: Christlichdemokratische Volkspartei (CVP) (Christian Democratic People's Party, Catholic) and Evangelische Volkspartei (EVP) (Protestant People's Party, Lutheran Protestant, much smaller than the CVP)
- The CVP also has a smaller more left-wing wing called the Christlichsoziale Partei (CSP) (Christian Social Party) which has oftentimes gathered seats on their own and in some Cantons is even organized as a seperate party. Swiss Politics are complicated.
- Social Democrats: Sozialdemokratische Partei (SP) (Social Democratic Party)
- Greens: Grüne Partei (Green Party)
- Grünliberale (GLP) more business-friendly offshoot of the Green Party.