Europe This Week: February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

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

The entrance to the Czech Republic’s presidential residence, located on the complex of Prague Castle. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Siverec (CC BY-SA 4.0) 

Upcoming Europe Elections

Germany, Berlin State Elections: February 12, 2023, followed by other state elections later this year

Julia Dahm, Euractiv (February 1, 2023): Conservative CDU leads polls as top court OKs Berlin election re-run

DW (January 31, 2023): Berlin repeat election to go ahead, says Germany’s top court

Greece Parliamentary Elections: By July 2023

Euractiv (February 1, 2023): MEP calls for ‘clarity’ on Greek Watergate before elections

Euronews with AP (January 28, 2023): Greek government survives vote of no-confidence in run-up to the elections

Begum Donmez Ersoz, Voice of America (January 27, 2023): US Weighs Turkey, Greece Jet Sales Amid NATO Expansion

Fitch Ratings (January 27, 2023): Fitch Upgrades Greece to ‘BB+’; Outlook Stable

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

A center-right, broadly Atlanticist coalition unseated Slovakia’s left-wing populist government in 2020, but the coalition has had trouble staying together. The opposition has been pushing for snap elections and parliament has agreed to change the law to allow them to be held.

Geopolitical impact: If former PM Robert Fico wins the elections and gets back in office, he could change Slovakia’s position toward Ukraine. Slovakia currently backs Kyiv, but Fico opposes sending weapons and has become even more pro-Russia in his time out of office.

Marián Koreň, Euractiv (February 1, 2023): Slovak’s EU-skeptic parties lead in polls ahead of autumn elections

Reuters (January 31, 2023): Slovakia will hold early election in Sept, pro-Ukraine stance at stake

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

Fernando Heller, Euractiv (January 31, 2023): Spanish inflation at highest in 35 years after state subsidies end

Reuters (January 31, 2023): Spain to raise minimum wage by 8% as elections loom

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

Bloomberg (January 30, 2023): Polish Economy Slows as War in Ukraine and Rate Hikes Hit Growth

Reuters (January 27, 2023): Polish parliament passes new election rules ahead of 2023 vote

Past Europe Elections

Austria, State Elections in Lower Austria: January 29, 2023

The center-right ÖVP lost its absolute majority in the January 29 state election in Lower Austria as right-wing populist FPÖ makes gains.

This is a bad omen for ÖVP (which currently heads the federal government in coalition with the Greens) ahead of general elections next year. Lower Austria is an ÖVP stronghold, and the home region of many of the party’s leaders.

Nikolaus J. Kurmayer at Euractiv notes: “The FPÖ itself is the clear winner of the state election, with gains of more than 10%, receiving about 25% of the vote. The party now looks poised to take home the 2024 Austrian federal election.”

Nikolaus J. Kurmayer, Euractiv (January 30, 2023): Austrian conservatives suffer historic electoral defeat

Emily Schultheis, AP (February 1, 2023): Austria’s far-right Freedom Party regains national momentum

Jonathan Tirone, Bloomberg (January 29, 2023): Austrian Ruling Party Loses Ground in Key Regional Election

Czech Republic Presidential Runoff: January 27-28, 2023

Retired general Petr Pavel defeated controversial former prime minister Andrej Babiš in the Czech Republic’s presidential runoff in January. 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.

Raphael Minder, Financial Times (February 1, 2023): Czech president-elect says west must accept China is ‘not friendly’: Petr Pavel challenges Beijing by becoming Europe’s first elected head of state to speak to Taiwanese president

BBC (January 31, 2023): Petr Pavel: Ukraine deserves to join Nato, says new Czech leader

Adam Magyar, Euronews (January 29, 2023): Record turnout as Pavel sweeps to victory in Czech Republic’s presidential elections

Ladka Bauerova and  Emily Rauhala, Washington Post (January 28, 2023): Retired Gen. Pavel defeats billionaire Babis in Czech election

Ketrin Jochecová, Politico (January 27, 2023): Babiš plays on fears of war with Russia in long-shot Czech presidency bid

United Kingdom Local Elections, including Northern Ireland Assembly: May 5, 2022

The United Kingdom held local elections for some local councils, as well as the Northern Ireland Assembly, on May 5.

Northern Ireland’s nationalist Sinn Féin became the biggest party in the Assembly following these elections. However, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has been boycotting the assembly, and as a result, Northern Ireland has not had a government for nearly a year.

The deadline to resume power-sharing has been missed, and as a result, new elections are required by law within 12 weeks.

George Parker, Peter Foster, Andy Bounds, and Jude Webber, Financial Times (February 1, 2023): Leaks pose danger to UK-EU deal on N Ireland trading regime, says Brussels

Christopher Caldwell, New York Times (January 26, 2023): It’s Anyone’s Guess What Will Happen in Northern Ireland in the Next 12 Weeks

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)

Finland General Elections: April 2, 2023

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

Andorra Parliamentary Elections: April 2, 2023

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)

Luxembourg Local Elections: June 11, 2023

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

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)

Germany, Hesse and Bavaria State Elections: October 8, 2023

Luxembourg General Elections: October 8, 2023

Switzerland Federal Parliamentary Elections: October 22, 2023

Bulgaria Local 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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