Europe This Week: March 3, 2021

March 3, 2021

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.

Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament building in Mainz, which is the state capital and most famously the home of Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/Benutzer Moguntiner (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Germany, Baden-Wûrttemburg and Rhineland-Palatinate State Elections (plus local elections in Hesse): March 14, 2021

Germany is due to hold several sets of elections next year, culminating in the September 26, 2021 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


Baden-Württemberg is currently governed by a “pizza coalition” of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Greens. Although a historically conservative state, polls suggest that the Greens will once again win these elections, and could possibly form a “traffic light coalition” with the Social Democrats and the liberal Free Democratic Party.

Imanuel Marcus, Berlin Specator (March 2, 2021): Winfried Kretschmann: The Green Superstar from the Southwest

Federal Politics

Loveday Morris and Luisa Beck, Washington Post (March 3, 2021): German intelligence agency places far-right AfD party under watch for extremism

Matthew Karnitschnig, Politico (March 3, 2021): Big Brother takes on German far right

AP (February 27, 2021): Germany’s Left picks 2 women to lead party into election

Netherlands Parliamentary Elections: March 17, 2021

Netherlands is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on March 17, 2020.While Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who leads a center-right coalition, 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

Mike Corder, AP (March 2, 2021): Dutch PM’s popularity high but eroding as election looms

DutchNews.NL (March 1, 2021): Manifestos show a rise in government spending and taxes: CPB

Jon Henley, The Guardian (March 1, 2021): Covid has ‘taken wind out of Dutch politics’, analysts say as elections loom

Eline Schaart, Politico (February 28, 2021): Dutch planning skills put to test as country prepares for election

Liam van de Ven, Atlantic Sentinel (February 27, 2021): Energy Plays Key Role in Dutch Election

Bulgaria Parliamentary Elections: April 4, 2021 and Presidential Election: October/November 2021 (due)

Bulgaria holds parliamentary elections on April 4, 2021. The country 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

Sofia Globe (February 26, 2021): Exacta poll sees five groups in Bulgaria’s next Parliament

Reuters (February 26, 2021): Bulgaria’s ruling GERB extends lead over Socialists ahead of election – poll

Greenland Snap Parliamentary Elections: April 6, 2021

Greenland will hold snap parliamentary elections on April 6, 2021 after the government coalition fractured following disagreements over a mining project. Greenland remains part of Denmark but has autonomy over domestic policy, although there is growing support for eventual independence. More

Martin Breum, EU Observer (February 25, 2021): Greenland’s snap election exposes global mineral demand

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. More

Aleksi Teivainen, Helsinki Times (March 1, 2021): National Coalition scrambling after losing mayoral candidate in Helsinki

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

Elizabeth Piper and Estelle Shirbon, Reuters (March 3, 2021): Scottish leader fights back in row with ex-mentor that threatens independence drive

RFI (March 2, 2021): Despite Brexit, Scotland insists on the right to remain part of Europe

David Bol, The Herald (March 1, 2021): Scottish Lib Dems draw up five-point blueprint for federal UK

Andrew Woodcock, The Independent (March 1, 2021): Scottish Labour elects new leader in hope of salvaging position ahead of Holyrood election

Tom Harris, The Telegraph (March 1, 2021): Has Scottish Labour just elected the man who will deny Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP its precious majority? 

Croatia Local Elections: May 16, 2021

Croatia has scheduled local elections for May 16, 2021. More

bne Intellinews (March 1, 2021): OBITUARY: World’s longest-serving city mayor Milan Bandic dies of heart attack

AP (February 28, 2021): Long-time mayor of Croatian capital of Zagreb dies at 65

Albania Parliamentary Elections: April 25, 2021

Albania plans to hold parliamentary elections on April 25, 2021. Since communism collapsed in 1990, Albania has held competitive elections and several transitions of power between political parties. However, the country is currently in the middle of a tense political standoff between the governing Socialist Party and the main opposition center-right Democratic Party. More

Alice Taylor, Exit News (March 3, 2021): Freedom House: Albania Less Free in 2020 than in 2019

Fjori Sinoruka, Balkan Insight (March 2, 2021): Albania’s Search for Communist-Era Missing Persons Stalled

bne IntelliNews (March 2, 2021): Albania’s main opposition parties to fight general election together

France Regional Elections: June 13, 2021

France holds regional elections on June 13, 2021, with a second round on June 20. These come ahead of next year’s presidential and legislative elections, where President Emmanuel Macron potentially faces a formidable challenge from the far-right. More

The Local France (March 1, 2021): France postpones regional elections until June due to Covid

Victor Mallet, Financial Times (March 3, 2021): France bans far-right group Génération Identitaire

Mark Owen, Charles Wente, and Juliette Laurain, France24 (March 3, 2021): Sarkozy convicted: What does it mean for politics and justice in France?

Cole Stangler, The Nation (March 3, 2021): France’s New Culture Warriors

Jamie Dettmer, VOA (March 2, 2021): Macron ‘Playing with Fire,’ Says France’s Leading Left-wing Newspaper

Czech Republic Parliamentary Elections: October 8-9, 2021

The Czech Republic has scheduled parliamentary elections for October 8-9, 2021. 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

William Nattrass, The Spectator (March 2, 2021): Covid is tearing the Czech Republic apart

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.

Orlando Crowcroft, Euronews (March 3, 2021): Hungary PM Orban’s party quits the largest group in European Parliament 

Zoltan Simon, Bloomberg (February 25, 2021): EU Commissioner Has ‘Big Concerns’ About Hungary’s 2022 Ballot

Past Europe Elections

Kosovo Snap Parliamentary Elections: February 14, 2021

Kosovo held snap parliamentary elections on February 14. The left-wing nationalist Vetëvendosje won, potentially jeopardizing any resolution to a long-standing territorial dispute with Serbia.

Andrew Higgins, New York Times (February 27, 2021): How to Unite a Deeply Divided Kosovo? Name a Lake After Trump

Romania Parliamentary Elections: December 6, 2020

Romania held parliamentary elections on December 6. Amid low turnout due partly to COVID-19, the scandal-plagued leftist Social Democrats (PSD) unexpectedly came in first place. However, a coalition of parties formed a center-right government, headed by Florin Cîțu from the center-right National Liberal Party (PNL). More

Mihnea Stoica, Vladimir Cristea and André Krouwel, LSE’s EUROPP (February 26, 2021): Stealth populism: Explaining the rise of the Alliance for the Unity of Romanians

Slovakia Parliamentary Elections: February 29, 2020

Slovakia held parliamentary elections in February 2020, won by a coalition of then-opposition parties running on an anti-corruption platform, defeating the then-incumbent populists. More

Euractiv (March 3, 2021): Slovak government faces collapse amid Sputnik purchase

Karel Janicek, AP (March 3, 2021): Slovakia’s political crisis, triggered by Sputnik V, deepens

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