Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

Post by Per »

The old thread doesn't work, so here's a new try.

EU parliamentary elections were held this weekend. There was suggestions that they might lead to a major shift to the right, and this actually occurred in especially France, but also Germany and Italy. But the picture varied a lot over the continent. In eg Sweden and Finland it was rather a shift to the left. The same could be said for Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, but then mainly a shift from eurosceptic conservatives to pro-EU conservatives or centre-right parties.

The big picture saw all three right wing groups - the EPP, the ECR and the ID - gain seats while Renew Europe (liberal alliance) and the Greens lost a lot of seats. There was also gains made by Alternatives For Germany, who were recently kicked out of the ID group for being too extreme.

At the end of the day, the coalition that has been in charge for the past five years, consisting of the EPP, S&D (centre left; eg social democrats), and Renew Europe still hold a majority in parliament, so the most likely outcome is that they will continue their cooperation and that Ursula von der Leyen stays on as President of the European Commission, but we do not know yet. The EPP could also choose to try to form a coalition with the two other right wing groups, CFR and ID. If they are joined by Fidesz (Hungary) and Alternatives for Germany, that currently are non-alligned, that grouping could also form a majority.

The latter is unlikely though, because even though the EPP is a conservative group, they are strongly pro-EU, whereas the ECR group consists of "soft eurosceptics" (eg Brothers of Italy) and the ID of "hard eurosceptics" (eg France's National Front). And as the main conservative parties of eg Germany (CDU/CSU) and Spain (PP) that are in the EPP are not on friendly terms with their eurosceptic counterparts at home, why would they cooperate with them in the European Parliament? Interestingly, while Meloni's Brothers of Italy are hardline extreme right at home in Italy, they have been taking a more centre-right stance in the European Parliament, leading to some speculation that they might opt to switch from the ECR to the EPP group.

Pretty good explanation in this youtube video, although he starts rambling on about his sponsor (MyHeritage) at the 2.50 mark, but just skip forward to the 4.00 mark when he does.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM8QHYI2r5o


If you want to dig into the results in each individual country, this is a great site, albeit for some reason the Irish results can't be viewed yet:
https://results.elections.europa.eu/en/

Just click on the country you want to check out. :thumbs:
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

Post by Per »

This video gives a decent overview of the political stances of the different groupings in the European Parliament.
Once again he starts talking about sponsors, but just skip from the 4.30 to the 6.00 mark and you should be fine.

https://youtu.be/4alPtkiXzCg?si=kjZtCV3YRm3miZHb
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoCetPdKuXY



https://apnews.com/article/eu-election- ... 95f394b28c
The far right’s election gains rattle EU’s traditional powers, leading Macron to call snap polls

Far-right parties rattled the traditional powers in the European Union with major gains in parliamentary seats, dealing an especially humiliating defeat to French President Emmanuel Macron, who called snap legislative elections.

Some ballots in the vote for the European Parliament were still being counted Monday, but the outcome showed the 27-nation bloc’s parliament membership has clearly shifted to the right. Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni more than doubled her party’s seats in the assembly. And despite being hounded by a scandal involving candidates, the Alternative for Germany extreme right party still rallied enough seats to sweep past the slumping Social Democrats of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

the surge by nationalist and populist parties across Europe will make it much harder for the assembly to approve legislation on issues ranging from climate change to agriculture policy for the next five years.

Undoubtedly however, the star on a stunning electoral night was the National Rally party of Marine Le Pen, which dominated the French polls to such an extent that Macron immediately dissolved the national parliament and called for new elections to start later this month. It was a massive political risk since his party could suffer more losses, hobbling the rest of his presidential term that ends in 2027.
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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At least Le Pen's party have paid back their Russian loan.
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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What’s amazing to me is that people are surprised by this.
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

Post by Per »

Mëds wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:41 pm What’s amazing to me is that people are surprised by this.
Not sure who is surprised? The right wing surge was expected.

Well, except for the massive shift in France. I mean, Macron won the last French elections, but now the National Front (or I guess they call themselves the National Rally now, but that sounds like a car race) got twice as many votes as his party did. A shift to the right was expected, the scope was surprisingly big.

But if you look at the overall picture for the entire union, the surprise is rather that the right wing surge was much smaller than expected. Eventhough both the ECR and the ID groups got more seats than before, the EPP - S&D - Renew coalition still holds a solid majority, 400 seats out of 720, so there will most likely not be any shift in who is setting the agenda.

That being said, the groups in the European Parliament are basically umbrella organisations for the different national parties of the member states, and the individual MEPs will not always follow the group recommendations on votes, as they represent their different constituencies and different countries have different interests. Thus an increase of right wing MEPs may sway the outcome of votes on some issues.

And of course, within the coalition, the EPP have strengthened their position as they gained seats while their two coalition parners shrunk. That could lead to a slight shift to the right in matters of policy. But most likely the EU will still be governed from the centre rather than the extremes.
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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So, the European Council are now discussing who will get the three top jobs in the EU.

The most prestigious spot is President of the EU Commission. As the conservative European People's Party (EPP) maintained its position as the biggest party in the European parliament, and even gained seats, Ursula von der Leien will almost certainly get to keep that job.

The number two spot is President of the European Council, and as the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) are the second largest contingent they are likely to get this spot. If so it will probably go to Antonio Costa from Portugal.
https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/po ... 024-06-17/

And then finally there is the spot as High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, basically the EU foreign secretary, which will most likely get to Kaja Kallas of Estonia, representing the liberal Renew Europe, which came in third place.
https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/es ... 024-06-17/

These three parties together command a majority of seats in the European Parliament; 406 out av 720, and they've worked together before, to ensure that Europe is lead from the centre and minimize the influence of extremists on both ends.

Image

The post as High Reprenentative has only existed since 2009 and has been held by Catherine Ashton of the UK, Federica Mogherini of Italy and Josep Borrell Fontelles from Spain. This would mark the first time that a small country gets such an important spot. It would also send a clear signal as Estonia borders on Russia and Kallas is an outspoken critic of Putin.

Putin has actually issued a warrant for her arrest, as she has ordered the removal of several Soviet era monuments in Estonia, which he apparently believes is a criminal offence. :roll:
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2024/02/ ... -pm-a84059
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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donlever wrote: Sun Jun 30, 2024 9:59 am Reported largest voter turnout in France since the early '80's with the far right looking to have a major presence in parliament for the first time since WWII.

Macron perhaps will be a somewhat humbled Prez as the world's eyes shift to Paris for the '24 Summer Olympics.
Still just 65% turnout, which is rather pathetic imho. Sweden had an 84% voter turnout in our last parliamentary elections and we thought that was disappointing.

In the first round Marine Le Pen's far right National Rally had 29% of the vote, the left wing People's Front had 28%, Macron's party roughly 20% and the conservative Republicans, who used to rule France for most of the WW2 era only 10%.

It is hard to say anything about the results yet, because only candidates that got more than 50% in their one man district earned seats in the first round. In the second round, held on Sunday, only candidates that had more than a 12.5% share of the vote in their district in the first round are eligible.

The French parliament has 577 seats, so 289 seats are needed for a majority. The National Rally (formerly known as the National Front) are expected to get anywhere between 260 and 310 seats, so it'll be a nerve recking second round.

In some 300 districts there are three candidates remaining. There has been a call for those that are not in the top two in their district to pull out, in an attempt to block an outright majority for the National Rally. Voters are encouraged support whatever candidate stands against the National Rally in every district, whether it's a left wing or centrist candidate.

It was a huge gamble by Macron to call for a new election and it seems to have blown up in his face, but we still don't have the final results.
https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cg3m98j3zpyo
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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And on July 4th there is another important election in a UN Security Council member state. Britain.

Richie Sunak has also called an early election that will most likely blow up in his face.

But while the vote in France seems to be leaning far right, in Britain it seems it will be a landslide victory for Labour who are currently polling at 40%, roughly twice as much as the Tories.

In recent weeks the Reform Party, headed by Farage, has also started to threaten the Tories for second place. :shock:

There's a decent chance the Tories will be annihilated on July 4th. :|

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-68079726
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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Landslide victory for Labour in the UK elections, as predicted, winning some 412 seats out of 650. Two seats currently undecided.

Labour have gained more than 200 seats and the Tories have their worst outcome since the parliament was reformed in 1832, losing some 250 seats and just holding on to 120. At least eight cabinet members lost their seats, which is a record.

The LibDems had their best result ever, gaining 63 seats from 8 to 71 (sic!).
The Scottish National Party lost 38 seats (mainly to Labour) and only keep 9.
The Greens gain 3 seats, to a total of 4, and Nigel Farage finally, in his eighth attempt, managed to become an MP; his Reform UK winning a total of 4 seats.

Labour actually only gained 2% of the vote, compared to 2019, but the vote on the right being divided between the Tories, the LibDems and Reform UK meant they won more seats than in any election since 1997 when they won 418 seats.

Voter turnout was a measly 60%, so I guess a lot of fed up Tory voters just decided to stay home.
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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Of the Northern Irish seats 7 went to Sinn Fein, 5 to the DUP, 2 to the Social Democrats, 1 to Alliance (a centrist group), 1 to the Ulster Unionist Party and 1 to an independent unionist.

Plaid Cymru won 4 Welsh seats, which is two more than they had before.
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

Post by Per »

The French elections has some good and some bad news.

The good news is that the Russian backed National Rally did not gain a majority, which would have impeded a united stance by the EU when it comes to supporting Ukraine. They probably would have, if French elections worked as British do, as they were the party receiving the highest number of votes (32%, almost as much as the 34% that earned Labour a landslide victory in the UK).

In Britain the candidate that gets the most votes in a constituency wins that seat, even if the votes are spread over ten candidates and the winner only got 15%. In France you need more than 50% to win in the first round. If no candidate has more than 50%, the two candidates with the most votes go on to a second round.
If a third candidate in that constituency has received more than 12.5% of eligible votes (ie not of votes cast, but of eligible votes) this third candidate also gets to participate. Normally this is very rare, but with an unusually high turnout of voters, there were some 300 consituencies (out of 577) where this happened. :shock:

What then happened is that the New Popular Front (ie the left wing and green parties united under one umbrella) and the Ensemble Alliance (Macron's people) agreed that their third place candidates would pull out of the race so that only two candidates would be available in most constituencies. The idea being that most voters that did not vote for the National Rally in the first round would be willing to vote for anyone rather than them.

And it worked.

In the end the National Rally, led by Le Pen, fell to third place.
They still gained a lot of seats compared to the previous elections, but they did not get a majority.

The winners of these elections were the left wing parties united as the New popular Front, who won 182 seats compared to 168 for the Ensemble Alliance and 143 for the National Rally. The old Republican Party, which used to rule France back in the day only got 60 seats.

Image

The bad news is that no one knows what to do with this result. :|

Unlike Germany, Italy, Spain and the Scandinavian countries, the French have no tradition of coalition government as their first past the post system usually creates strong ruling majorities in parliament. Now the votes are split between three large groups and one smaller group.

If the Republicans decided that they could join the National Rally to create a right wing government, that would only bring them to 203 seats, far below the 289 seat threshold, and the National Rally has said that they will not lead a minority government.

If the Republicans instead join Ensemble, that would bring them to 248 seats. Still not enough.

The Ensemble and the National Rally hate eachother and can not form a government.

Same goes for the New Popular Front and the National Rally. Hate eachother.

The only conceivable option based on parliamentary majority would really be Ensemble and the Popular Front joining forces, but that would also run into problems. The Popular Front includes some hardline Marxist Groups that also want to stop aiding Ukraine. Many in Ensemble consider this group to be just as bad as the National Rally. And many left wing hardliners hate the liberal Macron for raising the age of retirement and for being too market oriented. But if the Popular Front splits into its basic parties, eg the old Socialist Party should be able to join forces with Ensemble, and possibly the Greens as well. I'm not sure exactly how that breaks down, but it should be one option. Shed the most extreme left wingers and form a centre-left government, probably with a socialist PM as the New Popular Front would be the senior partner in this setup.

Another feasible option is that Macron appoints a non-political prime minister, a technocrat, who will then have to forge jumping majorities on different issues. Maybe having a Socialist/Ensemble backing on some issues and then an Ensemble/Republican/Rally backing on other issues.

That's an option that has been used repeatedly in eg Greece and Italy.
Then again, Greece and Italy are not exactly shining beacons on a hill. :look:

Regardless, there will be a fierce debate in France over where to go and what to do with the outcome of these elections, and who should be Prime Minister. Until they manage to reach an agreement there could be a hung parliament for quite some time.
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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Per wrote: Fri Jul 05, 2024 2:09 am Landslide victory for Labour in the UK elections, as predicted, winning some 412 seats out of 650. Two seats currently undecided.

Labour have gained more than 200 seats and the Tories have their worst outcome since the parliament was reformed in 1832, losing some 250 seats and just holding on to 120. At least eight cabinet members lost their seats, which is a record.

The LibDems had their best result ever, gaining 63 seats from 8 to 71 (sic!).
The Scottish National Party lost 38 seats (mainly to Labour) and only keep 9.
The Greens gain 3 seats, to a total of 4, and Nigel Farage finally, in his eighth attempt, managed to become an MP; his Reform UK winning a total of 4 seats.

Labour actually only gained 2% of the vote, compared to 2019, but the vote on the right being divided between the Tories, the LibDems and Reform UK meant they won more seats than in any election since 1997 when they won 418 seats.

Voter turnout was a measly 60%, so I guess a lot of fed up Tory voters just decided to stay home.
So this is a fascinating result on many levels.

First, according to the info I am finding, Labour's raw vote total declined from 2019 to last week. 10.27M in 2019, 9.67M in 2024 (rounding all to 10,000 place).

Second, the Conservatives cratered from 13.97M in 2019 to 6.76M.

Third, the lib-dems basically held serve in terms of raw vote total, slightly fewer total votes, but a slightly larger vote share than in 2019. They are tough for me to pin down on the political spectrum given that I am not a student of UK politics, more of a casual observer. They seem a bit more skeptical of authoritarian/state control left than Labour, but whether they are closer to moderate or to the left of labor depends in part on their leadership and also in part on Labour. Labour, in this election, appears to have taken a moderate "we're not the conservative party" message to this election.

The other main left group in terms of seats from the 2019 election -- the SNP -- was crushed in this election, losing about half its 2019 vote total. The Greens, however, emerged with 1.93M votes, by far their best performance.

Fourth, Reform, a brand new party, picked up 4.07M votes -- about 60% of the Conservative's vote total. Some will say Reform is the new UKIP; I think its aims and platform are broader and they are now operating in an environment where the Conservatives are equal parts incompetent and pusillanimous.

Put together, the main two political parties received 7.81M fewer votes in 2024 than 2019. That's about 68% of the vote total from 2019. Since the size of the UK is basically unchanged, I assume that the electorate is similar.

Some of this, as Per points out, is due to declining turnout, which went from about 67% to 60%. That could be evidence of disgust with the options, but it could also be evidence of an election whose ultimate outcome was never in doubt.

To me, given the raw vote totals, it makes more sense to think of Labour's raw vote total decline moving a bit to the left (the Greens) while simultaneously picking up some SNP. But the combined vote on the left is not dissimilar to the vote totals that defeated them in 2019.

And it makes sense to think of 2019's Conservative voters moving to the right (Reform) or abstaining.

This is as opposed to Conservatives voting Labour, the flip of what I think we saw in 2019 (when many labour voters chose Conservative).

Ultimately, I think Labour and their message (to the extent they said anything) did not become more popular. I'd be interested in seeing more sophisticated statistical analysis to determine whether they got back many of the voters they lost in 2019, or whether most of them abstained, went reform, or went to another third party.

The Conservative Party, though, became a lot lot less popular, and a huge part of that went Reform.

I don't think its sophistry to argue that in one of the greatest landslide elections for labour, the country actually is moving right. If the Conservative Party doesn't follow suit, this may be its end.

Last bit, there's lots of talk about how the crazy gap between vote shares and seats won is an indictment on the electoral system in the UK. Maybe, but while some gap is to be expected in first past the post systems, that gap is exacerbated if many districts are competitive. The strength of third parties, and whether their support is geographically diverse or clustered, also factors in. When most election districts are competitive, wave elections result in larger vote share/seat disparities.

Some see this as a bug, but I am not entirely sure it is not a feature. Should Labour be building a coalition now and be constrained by other less popular parties, or should it have its chance to enact its vision and be constrained by what voters will say in 2029?

Sources: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/7/4 ... he-numbers; https://news.sky.com/story/general-elec ... s-13171045
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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UWSaint wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 11:06 am Third, the lib-dems basically held serve in terms of raw vote total, slightly fewer total votes, but a slightly larger vote share than in 2019. They are tough for me to pin down on the political spectrum given that I am not a student of UK politics, more of a casual observer. They seem a bit more skeptical of authoritarian/state control left than Labour, but whether they are closer to moderate or to the left of labor depends in part on their leadership and also in part on Labour. Labour, in this election, appears to have taken a moderate "we're not the conservative party" message to this election.
The LibDems are basically a liberal party in the European sense. They embrace the liberal ideals of individual freedom, such as free trade, free speech, freedom of religion, the right to vote, equality before the law, etc. Basically the founding principles of both the American and French revolutions. A bit bland and very moderate centrist position. It's mainly a party for the educated middle class.
They are pro-European and opposed both Brexit and the Iraq war.

The most important thing is probably that they are neither socialists nor conservatives.
In the European Parliament they used to belong to the liberal Renew Europe group.
They want a small government but generous social safety nets. And a proportional election system.

At some point in the past they merged with the Social Democratic party, which was formed by Labour members that felt Labour was drifting too far to the left, so there could be the odd right wing socialist among them, even though the obvious choice for a socialist would be Labour. In earlier days, when the social democratic influence was stronger, they were often described as centre left, but nowadays most people just consider them centrist.

I think from a Canadian perspective Labour is roughly the same as the NDP, the LibDems are roughly the same as the Liberals and the Conservatives = Conservatives. But of course the LibDems are much smaller than the Liberal party of Canada and have very little power.

They have formed coalitions both with Labour and the Conservatives at times, and with the SNP in the Scottish parliament. The last time they had a good outcome in an election, 2010, they formed a coalition with the Tories under Cameron, and then basically were wiped out in the next elections. But this is the most seats they have ever held.

I think being the only truly pro-European party in the UK will help them as the negative impacts of Brexit gradually become more clear to the public.
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Re: Old World Politics - rising from the ashes

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Per wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 2:39 am
UWSaint wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 11:06 am Third, the lib-dems basically held serve in terms of raw vote total, slightly fewer total votes, but a slightly larger vote share than in 2019. They are tough for me to pin down on the political spectrum given that I am not a student of UK politics, more of a casual observer. They seem a bit more skeptical of authoritarian/state control left than Labour, but whether they are closer to moderate or to the left of labor depends in part on their leadership and also in part on Labour. Labour, in this election, appears to have taken a moderate "we're not the conservative party" message to this election.
The LibDems are basically a liberal party in the European sense. They embrace the liberal ideals of individual freedom, such as free trade, free speech, freedom of religion, the right to vote, equality before the law, etc. Basically the founding principles of both the American and French revolutions. A bit bland and very moderate centrist position. It's mainly a party for the educated middle class.
They are pro-European and opposed both Brexit and the Iraq war.

The most important thing is probably that they are neither socialists nor conservatives.
In the European Parliament they used to belong to the liberal Renew Europe group.
They want a small government but generous social safety nets. And a proportional election system.

At some point in the past they merged with the Social Democratic party, which was formed by Labour members that felt Labour was drifting too far to the left, so there could be the odd right wing socialist among them, even though the obvious choice for a socialist would be Labour. In earlier days, when the social democratic influence was stronger, they were often described as centre left, but nowadays most people just consider them centrist.

I think from a Canadian perspective Labour is roughly the same as the NDP, the LibDems are roughly the same as the Liberals and the Conservatives = Conservatives. But of course the LibDems are much smaller than the Liberal party of Canada and have very little power.

They have formed coalitions both with Labour and the Conservatives at times, and with the SNP in the Scottish parliament. The last time they had a good outcome in an election, 2010, they formed a coalition with the Tories under Cameron, and then basically were wiped out in the next elections. But this is the most seats they have ever held.

I think being the only truly pro-European party in the UK will help them as the negative impacts of Brexit gradually become more clear to the public.
Thanks, Per. Liberalism is quite unfashionable in this era of progressivism and technocracy on the one hand, and populism on the other. But it shouldn't be unpopular; it is largely responsible for the radical explosion of wealth and liberty since the 18th century. Except for the US's dabbles in progressivism (think Wilson, FDR), and the current mess (increasingly corporatist), the main US parties have always operated within the sphere of liberalism. Even the populist moments in American history (including the current) are liberal, except with a greater skepticism of international free trade and economic interdependency. (They are largely economically liberal (market based) within the American economy, and no one is really arguing for a closed economy, just a dash of mercantalism here and there).

I have a hard time seeing what's "Conservative" about the old tories these days; to me, the party seems more like Labour, but less radical, more cautious (and pusillanimous). Maybe they are about "conserving" the UK's structural deficiencies?

As for Brexit, I don't think that's a critical factor in the UK's current economic situation. Growth is stagnate in many European countries, inflation raged through the eurozone in 2022, etc.
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