Friday 20 March 2009

An achievable ambition?

Libertas aims to field over 100 candidates in the upcoming European elections, but is it an achievable ambition? After all, in Ireland, Libertas' home base, so far Ganley is the only announced candidate.

So how will Libertas do it? According to Irish Election, Libertas has sent out emails to those who subscribed to their email list, asking all those who are willing to apply to be candidates or nominate candidates. (This strikes me as a bit desparate, but who knows - if they actually do get good talent, it could work. You can never rule out a 1 in a million chance).

In this sort of situation, how do we analyse Libertas? Its claims to be pro-European are somewhat tainted by his association with far-right nationalist and eurosceptic candidates (notably in France). And the structure of the party makes it even more confusing. It seems to be run like a business, almost franchising the name out with the basic policy of anti-Lisbonism attached. So is run in a top-down fashion? To some extent, I would say so (though I'd say allied parties in other member states need to be appeased in some policy areas in order to imbue Libertas with the pan-European aura), but the manifesto will be interesting to read in this regard.

Will it be decided on by Libertas' members/candidates? Will it be drawn up by the Irish core or will there be a pan-Europe party conference which will vote on a manifesto? Such a conference would be great publicity, but it could also be a PR disaster - what if (as I suspect) Libertas doesn't attract enough pro-Europe yet anti-Lisbon members to balance out the plan eurosceptics? Will top-down control be imposed/reasserted in this event?

Another question is the risk of fielding 100+ candidates (enough for almost a 1/7 of EP seats under Nice). Libertas will be judged to some extent on its percentage of successful candidates, though this pressure will not be too great for such an experimental party. So how will its success/failure be measured? And will fielding so many candidates stretch out the party's resources, assuming that funding will not just be limited to the member state in with it is raised?

This quote stood out for me in the EUobserver article:

Mr Ganley... said it was "disgraceful" that taxpayers money was to be used to "inform the Irish people" about the treaty when they had already rejected it.

Damn information campaigns would only confuse people. They wouldn't know if they didn't know so they could vote no, you know?


  1. 100 seats is an illusion taking into account that - if I am informed correctly - Libertas is only in running in 7 member states. They'd probably need 50% in all of these countries to even come close to 100.

  2. It would be a massive electoral upset if Libertas took anywhere near 100 seats. It's highly doubtful that they'll even reach their 100 candidate goal - especially since they won't be able to run in Germany.