Europe This Week: November 25, 2020

November 25, 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.

The Belém Tower in Lisbon, the departure port for mariners during the Age of Exploration. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/Rehman Abubakr (CC BY-SA 4.0

Upcoming Europe Elections

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

Simona Fodor, Romania Insider (November 24, 2020): No special pensions: Romanian MPs announce resignations two weeks before the parliamentary elections

Andra Timu and Irina Vilcu, Bloomberg (November 19, 2020): Romanian PM Says He’ll Keep Populists at Bay, Despite Virus

The Economist (November 24, 2020): “Collective” follows tenacious investigative journalists in Romania

Portugal Presidential Election: January 24, 2021 and Local Elections: September or October 2021

Portugal will hold a presidential election on January 24, 2021. After that, local elections are due in September or October. The two main parties, center-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) and leftist Socialist Party (PS), regularly alternate in power. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa from PSD won the 2016 presidential election. He is running for re-election, and due to his popularity and strong polling numbers, likely to winMore

The Portugal News (November 24, 2020): Elections for Presidency scheduled for January

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. More

Al Jazeera (November 24, 2020): Leader Thierry Baudet quits far-right party over Nazi controversy

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. These come ahead of the 2022 presidential election, in which far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen has already announced her candidacy.

Jannick Alimi, Le Parisien (November 25, 2020 – in French): Regional elections: it is already war between the Greens and the Socialists

François Valentin, The National Interest (November 22, 2020): How Emmanuel Macron Could Face a 2022 Populist Upset

Mira Kamdar, The Atlantic (November 24, 2020): France Is About to Become Less Free

Finland Municipal Elections: April 18, 2021

Finland is due to hold municipal elections on April 18, 2021. Following the 2019 parliamentary elections, a left-leaning coalition came into government nationally.

Helsinki Times (Noveber 25, 2020): Latest poll by Helsingin Sanomat finds virtually no swings in voter support

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.

Northern Cyprus recently held a presidential election (again, recognized only by Turkey) which Ankara-backed nationalist Ersin Tatar won, exacerbating tensions on the island. More

George Psylides, Cyprus Mail (November 25, 2020): MPs’ clean-up measures ready before May elections

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

Nicholas Cecil, London Evening Standard (November 24, 2020): Shaun Bailey narrows poll gap on Sadiq Khan in London mayoral race… but still has mountain to climb

SW Londoner (November 20, 2020): Who are the candidates for the 2021 London Mayoral election?

Germany Parliamentary Elections: September 26, 2021

Germany is due to hold several sets of elections next year, culminating in the federal parliamentary elections that will determine who succeeds Angela Merkel as chancellor. Additionally, five states hold elections.  The year 2021 is thus a “Superwahljahr” (Super election year) in Germany. More

DW (November 25, 2020): German government sets date for next election: September 26, 2021

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.

Fanni Kaszás, Hungary Today (November 25, 2020): Newest Proposal to Election Law Can Force Opposition to One Party List

AP (November 24, 2020): Hungary: Planned Election Law Change Could Hamper Opposition

Emma Anderson, Politico (November 24, 2020): George Clooney in spat with Hungary’s Viktor Orbán

Past 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

Srecko Latal, Balkan Insight (November 23, 2020): Next Sarajevo Mayor Raises Hopes of Bosnia’s Civic Rebirth

Dino Jahic, Voice of America (November 22, 2020): Dayton Accords 25 Years Later: Bosnia Got Blueprint for Peace but not for Its Future

The Economist (November 21, 2020): After a quarter of a century of peace, Bosnia remains wretched

Lithuania Parliamentary Elections: October 11, 2020 (Second round October 25, 2020)

Lithuania held parliamentary elections in October 2020. A center-right coalition led by Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS–LKD) defeated the incumbent populist Farmers and Greens. Following the elections, a coalition of four parties – all led by women – formed a government, with Ingrida Šimonytė as the country’s first female prime minister.

Liudas Dapkus, AP (November 24, 2020): Lithuania’s parliament OKs new PM, then closes due to virus

Shivangi Thapa, She The People (November 19, 2020): Lithuania All Set To Make One Of The World’s Most Gender-Balanced Cabinet

World Politics Review (November 19 2020): Lithuania’s Conservatives Return to Power by Ditching Austerity

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.

Mladen Dragojlovic, Independent Balkan News Agency (November 23, 2020): Montenegro: New Government to be presented by Friday

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