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The centre-left is in retreat across most of Europe—third way modernisers have lost

By John Lloyd   October 2005

Following the German election, the centre-left, which ten years ago dominated 13 out of 15 west European governments, now looks a shrunken and confused political force. Sweden, which goes to the polls in a year’s time, seems likely to vote out the Social Democrats. In Italy, which also votes next year, an unpopular ruling coalition of the right faces a weak coalition of the left that stretches from moderate Christian Democrats to anti- globalisation communists, under the leadership of Romano Prodi.

It is also evident that the left is fragmenting, with the far left gaining votes in many countries at…

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