Europe’s year of reckoning: will extremists triumph?

% of votes for non-mainstream parties in national polls

Following the victory of the populist left-wing Syriza party in Greece, the old order of European politics seems to be under threat. Across the continent new political parties of the left and right are on the rise. Even in countries that have seen a return to growth, falling unemployment and improving consumer confidence, support for non-traditional parties continues to accelerate. Peripheral countries are splintering from the rest of Europe as they are generally seeing more protest votes go toward broadly left-wing soft eurosceptic parties, while the electorate in other countries are largely catching protest votes for right-wing, harder eurosceptic parties.

So far, recent developments in Greece have largely only unsettled the domestic stock and bond markets. But with parliamentary elections in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the UK slated for 2015, it may pay investors to read political commentary as closely as the data on Bloomberg screens in the months ahead.

Gareth Colesmith, Insight Investment

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