In elections held June 4th through June 7th in member nations of the European Union, it now appears that conservative parties have won convincing victories over their more left-leaning counterparts. In Germany, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats had less support, but so did their rival Social Democrats, who received their lowest electoral support since WWII. In France, Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative party handily defeated the Socialist party, and Britain’s Labor Party had one of the worst showings in its history, coming in third behind the Conservative Party and the United Kingdom Independence Party, which advocates Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Europe just elected their equivalent of Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. Indeed, a “conservative” party in Europe is still to the left of the Republicans, and many probably fall somewhere within a Democratic spectrum. The key here is the shift away, no matter to what degree, from big government and nanny statism. The elections obviously had a lot to do with dissatisfaction against incumbent parties (except in countries like France and Germany), and the low turnout undoubtedly also plays a factor, but the larger implication could be that Europe is beginning to wake up from its socialism stupor and make its way back to free-market and limited government principles.
Europe will absolutely never be as conservative as Ronald Reagan, but they may be headed back in his direction.