November 18, 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.
Graffiti supporting Scottish independence on Scotland’s Isle of Skye ahead of the 2014 referendum. Scotland may be headed for yet another independence referendum following next year’s elections. Photo credit: Wikimedia/John Allan (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Upcoming Europe Elections
Bosnia and Herzegovina Mostar Local Elections: December 20, 2020
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) held local elections on November 15, 2020. 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
Sabina Niksic, AP (November 15, 2020): Bosnians vote in local elections overshadowed by pandemic
Despite a low turnout, opposition parties have made incursions in some of the key cities and municipalities across the country, preliminary results from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s local elections show.
Is a shift on the country's political horizon?https://t.co/O0LxVJRUlB
— Balkan Insight (@BalkanInsight) November 16, 2020
Euronews with AP and AFP (November 16, 2020): Nationalist parties lose Sarajevo and other major cities in Bosnia’s municipal elections
Alfredo Sasso, OBC Transeuropa (November 19, 2020): The elections of 1990, the year zero of Bosnian ethnocracy
Netherlands Parliamentary Elections: March 17, 2021
Netherlands is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on March 17, 2020. The current government is a coalition of four liberal and center-right parties. The biggest is VVD, whose leader, Mark Rutte, is heading his third government as prime minister. While Rutte has been under fire from other political parties, including members of his own coalition, he enjoys high approval ratings from Dutch voters, including for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seven municipalities in Groningen and Noord-Brabant held local elections this week due to boundary changes. Turnout was normal, despite COVID-19, seen as a promising sign ahead of the March 2021 parliamentary elections. More
NL Times (November 18, 2020): First Dutch elections after Covid kick-off as traditional and drive-up polling places open
France Regional Elections: March 2021 (due – delay possible due to COVID-19)
France is due to hold regional elections in March 2021, but the prime minister has proposed a three-month delay due to COVID-19. Voters will elect regional councils throughout France and France’s overseas departments.
Pierre-Paul Bermingham, Politico (November 16, 2020): France split over ‘American’ mail-in ballots for 2021 regional elections
Pierre-Paul Bermingham, Politico (November 13, 2020): French PM announces move to delay regional elections
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
Reuters (November 17, 2020): Bulgaria blocks EU accession talks with North Macedonia
Alec Mally, New Europe (November 19, 2020): The Bulgarian hammer comes down
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 independence. More
Estelle Shirbon and Guy Faulconbridge, Reuters (November 16, 2020): Johnson raises ire of Scots independence-seekers with devolution “disaster” comment
BBC (November 17, 2020): What is devolution and how does it work across the UK?
The Economist (November 17, 2020): Brexit and covid-19 show up the disunited kingdom
Cyprus Parliamentary Elections: May 23, 2021 (due)
Cyprus is due to hold parliamentary elections on May 23, 2021. Following independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, but tensions between the Greek and Turkish-speaking communities ramped up, with the UN consequently establishing a buffer zone in 1964 between the Greek-speaking south and T1urkish-speaking north. In 1974, the country became divided in practice following a coup and a Turkish military intervention. Although the Republic of Cyprus is the only internationally-recognized government on the island, in reality, it only controls the south. The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which only Turkey recognizes, controls the north.
Isabella Kwai, New York Times (November 15, 2020): Erdogan’s Visit to Northern Cyprus Stokes Decades-Long Dispute
Helena Smith, The Guardian (November 15, 2020): Erdoğan met by protests from Turkish Cypriots during visit
Zoe Didili, New Europe (November 16, 2020): Greece, Cyprus condemn Erdogan’s visit to occupied zone as Ankara backs two-state solution for the divided island
Past Europe Elections
Montenegro Parliamentary Elections: August 30, 2020
Montenegro held parliamentary elections on August 30, 2020, the fifth since independence in 2006. 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. Zdravko Krivokapic from For the Future of Montenegro will be the next prime minister. The political base of the new coalition is generally pro-Moscow.
Samir Kajosevic, Balkan Insight (November 17, 2020): Montenegro’s Ethnic Minority Parties Refuse to Join New Govt
Austin Doehler, New Eastern Europe (November 13, 2020): The price of democracy in Montenegro
Batya, Small Wars Journal (November 15, 2020): Is an international conflict brewing in Montenegro?
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