Europe This Week: January 18, 2023

January 18, 2023

A weekly review of news and analysis of elections in Europe, usually posted on Wednesdays and occasionally updated throughout the week.

The main train station in Brno, Czech Republic. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Kirk979 (CC BY 2.5)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Czech Republic Presidential Runoff: January 27-28, 2023

Controversial former prime minister Andrej Babiš will face off against retired general Petr Pavel in the Czech Republic’s presidential runoff later this month. Incumbent Milos Zeman, who has been in power for 10 years and did not run for re-election, built closer ties with Russia and China.

Pavel, a former chairman of the NATO Military Committee, favors pro-West policies, while populist Babiš has criticized support for Ukraine and the EU more generally.

Federica Di Sario, Politico (January 14, 2023): Pro-Western retired general leads first round in Czech presidential election

Austria, State Elections in Lower Austria: January 29, 2023 (general elections due by the end of 2024)

Center-right ÖVP looks likely to lose the January 29 state election in Lower Austria as right-wing populist FPÖ makes gains.

A bad omen for ÖVP (which heads the federal govt in coalition with the Greens) ahead of general elections next year.

Euractiv (January 18, 2023): Austria’s president, defence minister’s feud resurfaces before elections

Cyprus Presidential Election: February 5, 2023

Fun fact: Cyprus is the only full presidential system in the European Union. Therefore, this election will determine who runs Cyprus. 

Tensions remain high between the Greek and Turkish-speaking communities, which each have their own governments and hold their own elections, although only the Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus is recognized by the international community.

AFP (January 17, 2023): Ukraine war’s shadow hangs over Cyprus church

Estonia Parliamentary Elections: March 5, 2023

Estonia’s last elections to the Riigikogu (parliament) were in March 2019. Kaja Kallas’ liberal Reform Party won the most seats, but incumbent Prime Minister Juri Ratas pulled together a coalition with his Centre Party, the conservative Isamaa (Fatherland), and the far-right nationalist Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), despite having promised before the election that he would not do a deal with EKRE.

However, the Ratas government collapsed over a corruption scandal in January 2021. Centre Party subsequently entered into an agreement with Reform in which Kaja Kallas would become prime minister (the first woman to hold the post in Estonia), and EKRE would not be part of the government. However, EKRE remains a potent political force.

Tonis Saarts, Baltic Times (January 18, 2023): Why is the populist radical right so successful in Estonia?

Montenegro Presidential Election: March 19, 2023

Montenegro is due to hold parliamentary elections by August 2024, but snap polls are likely. The last elections, the fifth since independence in 2006, took place in August 2020. Although the pro-Western Democratic Party of Socialists, which has been in power for 30 years, won the most seats, they did not win a majority, and a coalition of opposition parties united to form a government, but that proved short-lived. Several other governments have risen and fallen, and the political situation remains unstable.

Zoran Radosavljevic, Euractiv (January 17, 2023): Montenegro to hold presidential election on 19 March

Samir Kajosevic, Balkan Insight (January 13, 2023): Montenegro in 2023: Searching for Path Back to Political Stability

United Kingdom, Local Elections in Some Parts of England: May 4, 2023, followed by general elections due in 2024

Vincent Kearney, RTÉ (January 19, 2023): NI Secretary confirms no immediate election planned

Lisa O’Carroll, The Guardian (January 18, 2023): Ministers set six-week window to decide on Northern Ireland elections

Glenn Campbell, BBC (January 15, 2023): Are elections the way to break the indyref2 deadlock?

Jude Webber, Financial Times (January 13, 2023): Keir Starmer vows to repeal controversial bill on Northern Ireland amnesties

Slovakia Snap Elections: Mid-2023 (proposed)

Reuters (January 17, 2023): Slovak PM agrees to early election after plan for new cabinet fails

Jakub Filo, Spectator Slovakia (January 16, 2023): Zuzana Čaputová: I’m tired. But I still believe there’s hope to change things for the better (interview)

Greece Parliamentary Elections: By July 2023

Balkan Insight (January 19, 2023): Prosecutor’s ‘Opinion’ Pours Fuel on Greek Surveillance Row

Sarantis Michalopoulos, Euractiv (January 17, 2023): Greek PM warns his deputies of ‘turmoil’ ahead of elections

Kathimerini (January 17, 2023): Parallel ballots possible in Greece, Turkey: Speculation getting stronger that elections may be held in both countries on May 14 or 21

Alex Marshall, New York Times (January 17, 2023): After 220 Years, the Fate of the Parthenon Marbles Rests in Secret Talks

Anthee Carassava, Voice of America (January 15, 2023): Greece Presses Ahead With Plans to Fence Its Land Borders With Turkey

Nektaria Stamouli, Politico (January 15, 2023): Greece to hold elections in spring, Mitsotakis says: ’From April and onwards, the elections can be held at any time,’ Greek prime minister tells Proto Thema.

Poland Parliamentary and Local Elections: By November 11, 2023

Daniel Tilles, Notes from Poland (January 13, 2023): Almost half of Poles fear this year’s elections will be falsified

Wojciech Przybylski, CEPA (January 12, 2023): Poland’s Flawed Star Can Shine: This year, Poland enters a busy electoral schedule that will resolve its future direction, and affect the wider European project.

Past Europe Elections

Bulgaria Parliamentary Elections: October 2, 2022

Philip Volkmann-Schluck, WELT (January 18, 2023): Bulgaria to the rescue: How the EU’s poorest country secretly saved Ukraine

Svetoslav Todorov, Balkan Insight (January 16, 2023): Bulgaria Closer to Elections as Socialists Accept Doomed Mandate

RFE/RL (January 15, 2023): Socialist Party To Be Given Third And Final Chance To Form Government In Bulgaria

European Geopolitics

Dimitar Bechev, Carnegie Endowment (January 19, 2023): Hedging Its Bets: Serbia Between Russia and the EU

Giorgio Cafiero, Daily Sabah (January 18, 2023): Bosnia’s EU candidacy ushers in new geopolitical landscape

Sune Engel Rasmussen, Wall Street Journal (January 17, 2023): Finland PM Says Country Won’t Rush Into NATO Without Sweden

Rikard Jozwiak, RFE/RL (January 16, 2023): Wider Europe Briefing: The Conundrum Of Kosovo’s EU Application And The Broader Effects Of Qatar-Gate

Reuters (January 14, 2023): Erdogan aide says time running out to ratify Sweden, Finland NATO bids

Alexsandar Ikovíc, European Western Balkans (January 13, 2023): EU and the Western Balkans in 2023: Fear of Instability and Cautious Optimism

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2023

Several European countries hold elections that determine who runs the government: Cyprus (fun fact: Cyprus is the EU’s only full presidential system), Monaco, Estonia, Andorra, Finland, Greece, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Poland, and Spain.

In addition, Montenegro and Slovakia appear on track to hold snap elections. And Bulgaria could hold its fourth general election in three years.

Moreover, a number of other countries in Europe could hold snap elections at short notice – it happens.

Slovakia Referendum on Early Elections: January 21, 2023

Czech Republic Presidential Runoff: January 27-28, 2023

Austria, Lower Austria State Elections: January 29, 2023

Cyprus Presidential Election: February 5, 2023

Monaco Parliamentary Elections: February 5, 2023

Cyprus Presidential Runoff: February 12, 2023

Germany, Berlin State Elections: February 12, 2023

Italy, Lazio and Lombardy Regional Elections: February 12, 2023

Estonia General Elections: March 5, 2023

albniaLithuania Local Elections: March 5, 2023

Liechtenstein Local Elections: March 5, 2023

Austria, Carinthia State Elections: March 5, 2023

Netherlands Provincial Council and Water Authority Elections: March 15, 2023

Montenegro Presidential Election: March 19, 2023 (snap parliamentary elections possible)

Andorra Parliamentary Elections: March 2023 (due)

Finland General Elections: April 2, 2023

Bulgaria Snap Parliamentary Elections: April 2, 2023 (fifth election in two years)

Austria, Salzburg State Elections: April 23, 2023

Kosovo Partial Local Elections: April 23, 2023

United Kingdom, Local Elections in Some Parts of England: May 4, 2023

Albania Local Elections: May 14, 2023

Germany, Bremen State Elections and Local Elections in Schleswig-Holstein: May 14, 2023

United Kingdom, Local Elections in Northern Ireland: May 18, 2023

Spain Local Elections and Various Regional Elections: May 28, 2023

Latvia Indirect Presidential Election (by parliament): May 2023 (due)

Greece Local Elections: May 2023 (due)

Spain, Regional Elections in Various Regions: June 25, 2023

Luxembourg Local Elections: June 2023 (due)

Greece Parliamentary Elections: July 2023 (due)

Norway Local Elections: September 11, 2023

Slovakia Snap Parliamentary Elections: September 30, 2023 (proposed – requires parliament to change constitution to allow)

Switzerland Federal Parliamentary Elections: October 22, 2023

Luxembourg General Elections: October 2023 (due)

Bulgaria Local Elections: October 2023 (due)

Germany, Hesse and Bavaria State Elections: October 2023 (due)

Finland, Åland Elections: October 2023 (due)

Portugal, Regional Elections in Madeira: October 2023 (due)

Poland Parliamentary and Local Elections (due – earlier elections possible): November 11, 2023

Spain General Elections: December 10, 2023 (due – early elections possible)

Switzerland Indirect Presidential Election (by parliament): December 12, 2023

Andorra Local Elections: December 2023 (due)

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