Europe This Week: November 11, 2020

November 11, 2020

Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in Europe, usually posted on Wednesdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.

Sarajevo’s Latin Bridge, where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, igniting World War I. Bosnia and Herzegovina holds local elections on November 15. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Baumi (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Bosnia and Herzegovina Local Elections: November 15, 2020 and Mostar Local Elections: December 20, 2020

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is scheduled to hold local elections on November 15, 2020. Voters will elect mayors and councils in 143 municipalities. Mostar, a city divided between Bosniaks and Croats in Croat-dominated Herzegovina, will hold municipal elections for the first time ever since 2008. In fact, Mostar has had no city council for the last seven years, which has been a disaster for citizens because basic municipal services aren’t being provided. The elections are taking place in the context of gridlock and ethno-nationalism. More

Danijel Kovacevic and Srecko Latal, Balkan Insight (November 12, 2020): Fears of Fraud and Infection Feed Bosnian Electoral Uncertainty

Romania Parliamentary Elections: December 6, 2020

Romania has scheduled parliamentary elections for December 6, 2020, following local elections that took place on September 27, 2020. Since communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu fell in 1989, Romania has become a free democracy, but politics are volatile – the office of the prime minister has changed hands eight times since 2014. Corruption and weak rule of law remain serious problems. More

Irina Marica, Romania Insider (November 6, 2020): General elections in Romania: Election campaign starts with special rules to prevent spread of COVID-19

Bulgaria Parliamentary Elections: March 28, 2021 (due – however, delays or snap elections are both possible)

Bulgaria is due to hold parliamentary elections on March 28, 2021, although delays are possible due to COVID-19. Snap elections are also possible amid ongoing protests. Bulgaria has been in a long stretch of chaotic politics characterized by a series of early elections and caretaker governments, and a number of problems remain. Corruption and scandals have plagued the country since the 1990s. In that vein, the country is currently embroiled in anti-government protests, some violent, which have been going on since July. More

Novinite (November 11, 2020): Bulgaria: Another Wednesday Protest for Reforms in the State Prosecution

United Kingdom Local Elections (including Mayor of London and Scottish and Welsh parliaments): May 6, 2021

The United Kingdom (UK) will hold local elections on May 6, 2021. Voters will elect various local councils, plus the mayor of London, plus Scottish and Welsh parliaments. The Scottish elections are particularly high-stakes because if the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) wins a majority, they will pressure the government in Westminster to allow another referendum on independenceMore

Rachel Mackie, The Scotsman (November 12, 2020): The Scottish Government are considering contingency plan to postpone the May elections due to Covid-19

Scott McCartney, The Scotsman (November 6, 2020): Here are all the SNP candidates for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections

Estonia Municipal Elections: October 17, 2021

Estonia – a poster child for a successful post-communist transition to democracy – will hold municipal elections on October 17, 2021. More

Reuters (November 8, 2020): Estonian far-right coalition partner says U.S. election rigged, Biden corrupt

Siobhán O’Grady, Washington Post (November 9, 2020): Estonian cabinet minister to resign after calling Biden corrupt, saying Trump would emerge as election winner

Czech Republic Parliamentary Elections: October 2021 (due – snap elections possible)

The Czech Republic is due to hold parliamentary elections in October 2021, although they could happen earlier. The current prime minister, controversial billionaire Andrej Babiš, came to power following the 2017 parliamentary elections. His populist ANO party won a plurality, but not majority, of seats, and he has had a turbulent tenure in office. More

Aneta Zachová, Euractiv (October 28, 2020): Czech centre-right parties form alliance to defeat Babiš

Hungary Parliamentary Elections: By Spring 2022 (or earlier)

Hungary is due to hold parliamentary elections by Spring 2022, although snap elections are possible. Prime Minster Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party has become increasingly authoritarian, to the concern of many both in Hungary and in the international community.

Valerie Hopkins, Financial Times (November 11, 2020): Orban proposes changes to Hungary’s electoral law – Move would make it harder for opposition parties to co-ordinate at next national poll

Edit Zgut, Visegrad Insight (November 12, 2020): Hungary’s Constitution – Vehicle for Political Corruption

Kosovo Parliamentary Elections: By October 2023 (snap elections possible)

On November 5, 2020, President Hashim Thaci resigned to face war crimes charges in The Hague. Although the president is elected indirectly by the parliament, Thaci’s resignation could potentially trigger yet another snap election (the third in less than four years).

Bledar Qalliu, Exit News Albania (November 5, 2020): Kosovo Political Crisis: Snap Election or New President

Ismet Hajdari, AFP (November 9, 2020): Hashim Thaci: Kosovo rebel who swapped guns for politics

Past Europe Elections

Serbia Parliamentary Elections: June 21, 2020

Serbia held snap parliamentary elections on June 21, 2020 in a climate of mistrust. Many opposition parties boycotted, and therefore, President Alexander Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) dominated. Vucic announced that the new parliament would not serve a full term, and that the Serbia would hold both presidential and parliamentary elections by April 2022.

Serbia has tried to balance movement toward joining the European Union with maintaining good relations with Russia.

Andy Heil, RFE/RL (November 10, 2020): Some ‘Pro-Russian’ Voices Tamed In Serbia, But Vucic Keeping His Options Open

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