Next Left country case studies

Exploring the state of Social Democracy in France, Austria, Romania and Australia



The Next Left Country Case Studies is a new publication series and an outcome of the work within the Next Left Research Programme geared by FEPS and Karl Renner Institut. The series, commissioned to provide an insight into the Social Democratic parties in Europe and beyond, focuses on exploring the current state of Social Democracy in selected countries. Each publication guides the reader through the transformation of national political party systems and parties’ internal organisation, highlighting the authors’ takes on their future prospects. The series’ insightful analysis of domestic political contexts, exploring the often turbulent political history of Social Democratic parties, enables a full immersion into specific political programmes and policies, while simultaneously providing a canvas for sharing the best practices for the Social Democratic movement to move forward on a global scale

The French Socialist Party, having suffered crushing defeats in the presidential elections of 2017 and 2022, has lost its status as the main opposition party. With the French political scene currently plagued by populist stances, and the Parti Socialiste now being a shadow of its former self, this study explores the party’s turbulent history since its formation to its present state of constantly fleeing electorate. From covering internal divisions inside of the PS, as well as NUPES (left-wing parties’ electoral alliance), PS’ troubles with accepting the reformist stances of the European Social Democratic family are explored, not shying away from diving into the many paradoxes within the French socialist identity. This read remains as a powerful lesson for all Social Democratic sympathisers, simultaneously outlining the split between the party’s ideological core and its’ public perception of a party of elected officials. Read more.

The Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ), having been founded in 1889, is currently one of the major parties and a backbone of the country’s political scene. With Austria’s political system, in recent years, moving away from its tradition of unwavering consensus building, the SPÖ holds on strongly to its ambition of a united left, drawing on the Austro-Marxist tradition and a strong anti-fascist core, especially amidst the rise of neo-nationalism. From exploring the SPÖ’s history (internal and external) to walking the reader through Vienna’s Social Democratic policies setting a global example for the left, this study explores SPÖ’s ways of responding to an electoral backlash and transforming existing political antagonisms. Simultaneously, the publication provides a deep dive into the most heated topics in Austrian politics (e.g. migration and asylum) and SPÖ’s policy transformations aimed at not yielding the political narrative to the far-right. Read more.

The Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSD) has proved its resilience many times to the country’s political system being strongly unbalanced to the right. Currently being the largest force in the Romanian Parliament, as well as the biggest delegation, from the Central Eastern European region, in the European Parliament, the PSD is preparing for a quadruple election round in 2024 (local, national, presidential, and European), with the prospect of advancing on its electoral weight within the European family, and shaping the semi-presidential system in a Progressive manner. Having ingrained intra-membership solidarity into the party’s ethos, PSD is constantly proving how grassroot organising and informal practices can translate into high electoral scores, skilfully dealing with the still very much present, in Romanian post-communist collective memory, rhetoric against Social Democracy. Read more.

A new labourism: Down under

By Rob Manwaring

The Australian Labor Party (ALP), having been the first national Labour-led government in the world, has only managed to rise up from the opposition benches three times since the 1950s due to one of the most right-leaning political party systems, with the last time being in 2022 under Anthony Albanese’s leadership. With the ALP in government, now tackling structural and institutional issues long ignored by the Coalition governments, but still operating in a political and cultural setting controlled by the centre-right, Albanese’s government is proving to deliver progressivism on both social and economic issues, locally and nationally. From battling declining union density to delivering on the recruitment of gender balanced MPs, Albanese’s new labourism skillfully operates in a once rigid party system that has been experiencing structural changes with the rise of independent candidatesRead more.

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In the media

Falsely historic European elections bring little change, says FEPS

by Agence Europe 18/06/2024
Agence Europe's article features an analysis of the EU election results by Ania Skrzypek, FEPS Director for Research and Training, published in The Progressive Post.

Durchhalten ist nicht unmöglich

by Frankfurter Hefte 06/12/2023
'Persevering is not impossible' Article by Ania Skrzypek, FEPS Director for Research and Training, on the future of social democracy in Europe

Sluta tro att SD-männen bara skojar om politiken

by AFTONBLADET 30/05/2023
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Polacy nieufni i “wyjątkowi” – “popandemiczne” badanie w UE

by TOK FM 22/05/2023
'Poles distrustful and "exceptional" - "post-pandemic" survey in the EU' TOK FM. Interview with Ania Skrzypek, FEPS Director for Research and Training, about the results of FEPS' European survey in six EU countries and the 'uniqueness' of the responses of the Polish people.