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Greens Pass Bloc: Polls

Federal party now fourth in national support.

Angus Reid 2 Feb 2007TheTyee.ca

This Tyee series shares with you the research conducted by the Angus Reid Global Monitor, the Vancouver-based leaders in public opinion analysis. TrendWatch columns offer quick, concise context for developing stories in BC and beyond.

Canada's Greens leapfrogged the Bloc Québécois in two recent national polls, putting them in fourth place among federal parties for the first time. But the new support may not be enough for an electoral breakthrough under Canada's current electoral system, if world results are any guide.

Green parties have been elected to parliament and joined governments in democracies from New Zealand to Germany. The common thread for Green success, however, has usually been some form of proportional representation. In countries that use the first past the post system, such as Britain, the United States and Canada, Greens have had much more trouble.

For an overview of how Greens from Europe to Oceania are faring now, check out the following polls.

Canada: 9 per cent. Canada's Greens polled at 11 per cent in an Environics poll published in early January. They dropped down to nine, however, in a Leger poll conducted later in the month.

Finland: 8.9 per cent. Two months before the legislative election, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has hinted at bringing the party into his coalition of Centrists, Social Democrats and ethnic Swedes, which is expected to earn a new term.

Ireland: 7 per cent. The Green Party faces a tough challenge in the legislative election expected in May. Usually the fourth political force in the country, the Greens tied Sinn Fein in the latest survey. The party currently holds eight mandates in the House of Representatives.

Czech Republic: 7.6 per cent. The Czech Greens made it to the government, after the long political stalemate that followed the June 2006 election, and have topped the Democratic Union-Czech People's Party (KDU-CSL) to become the fourth most popular political organization.

Germany: 10 per cent. The Greens played a key role in the last Social Democratic government, partnering with Gerhard Schroeder in exchange for the Foreign Ministry and a commitment to gradually phase out nuclear energy. However, a close finish to the 2005 election and the subsequent "Grand Coalition" of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats relegated them to legislative spectators.

Estonia: 6 per cent. The Greens, assembled as a political party late last year, are the fourth most popular party in the Baltic nation, leaving behind established organizations such as the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and the Estonian People's Union (ERL).

Britain: 3 per cent. Without the benefit proportional representation, the British Greens sit way behind the three dominant parties. Just like Canada, however, the Greens do better nationally than do regional independence parties.

Australia: 7 per cent. The Australian system of preferential voting limits the role of the down under Greens. Most votes there are redistributed between the governing Coalition of Liberals and Nationals or the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

New Zealand: 7.5 per cent. The country's Greens placed specific conditions on the two major parties -- Labour and National -- before the last election, and although a coalition seemed likely, no agreement was finalized with the administration of Helen Clark. The party sits in third place.  [Tyee]

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