Europe This Week: March 17, 2021

March 17, 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.

Campaign posters during the 2019 provincial elections in the Netherlands village of Bellingwolde, Groningen. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Donald Trung Quoc Don CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

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

BBC (March 18, 2021): Dutch election: PM Mark Rutte claims victory and fourth term

Thomas Erdbink, New York Times (March 17, 2021): Dutch prime minister in line for 4th term following victory for ‘center-right’

Cas Mudde, LSE’s EUROPP (March 15, 2021): What happened to the Dutch left?

Holly Ellyatt, CNBC (March 15, 2021): Dutch voters go to the polls amid strict — and unpopular — Covid lockdown

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

Ron Synovitz and Polina Paunova, RFE/RL (March 18, 2021): Bulgaria’s Powerful ‘Potbelly’ Vanishes From Political Scene Ahead Of Elections

Rad Manolov, Euractiv (March 16, 2021): Eyeing EU stimulus, Bulgarian parties pledge green transformation

Aleksia Petrova, SeeNews (March 11, 2021): RSF calls on Bulgarian authorities to improve journalists’ security, access to information

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

Exit Albania (March 15, 2021): US Urges Albania for High Standards in April Elections

Spain, Snap Regional Elections in Madrid: May 4, 2021

Madrid will hold early regional elections on May 4, following the collapse of the government coalition consisting of the conservative Popular Party and the liberal Citizens Party.

Daniel Dombey, Financial Times (March 17, 2021): Divisive election looms in Madrid as Spanish politics polarise

Carlos E. Cué, Anabel Díez, Inés Santaeulalia, and Javier Casquiero, El País (March 15, 2021): Deputy PM Pablo Iglesias makes surprise move to run in the Madrid regional 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

Sam Coates, Sky News (March 18, 2021): Nicola Sturgeon on course to remain first minister but SNP’s Holyrood majority in the balance, poll for Sky News suggests

Stefan Boscia, City A.M. (March 16, 2021): Government plans to change mayor of London elections to First Past the Post

Latvia Municipal Elections: June 5, 2021

Latvia has scheduled municipal elections for June 5, 2021. After that, parliamentary elections are due in October 2022. More

Edgars Kupčs, LSM Latvian Public Broadcasting (March 17, 2021): Municipal elections might see ‘political monopoly’ in Latvia

Finland Local Elections: June 13, 2021 (postponed from April)

Finland is holding municipal elections on June 13, 2021, delayed from April due to COVID-19. Following the 2019 parliamentary elections, a left-leaning coalition came into government nationally. More

Sanna Kopra and Matti Puranen, The Diplomat (March 18, 2021): China’s Arctic ambitions face increasing headwinds in Finland

Leonie Cater, Politico (March 17, 2021): Finland’s women-led government targeted by online harassment

France Regional Elections: June 13, 2021 and Presidential Election: April 2022 (due) 

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

David Keohane and Victor Mallet in, Financial Times (March 15, 2021): Macron’s interior minister confronts Le Pen on her own territory

Norimitsu Onishi and Constant Méheut, New York Times (March 13, 2021): Can France’s far right rise to power? One mayor shows how

Henry Samuel, The Telegraph (March 11, 2021): Half of French voters eye Le Pen election victory as Macron loses support of Left

Italy, Mayoral Elections in Rome, Milan, Turin, Naples and other cities and regional elections in Calabria: Between September 15 and October 15, 2021

Italy is due to hold regional elections in Calabria in the south, as well as mayoral elections in several major cities, later this year. The next general elections aren’t due until June 2023, but as is ever the case with Italy, snap elections are possible. However, in January 2021, the government collapsed after former prime minister Matteo Renzi withdrew his support. Former European Central Bank chief Mario “Super Mario” Draghi formed a government in February 2021.

Miles Johnson and Davide Ghiglione, Financial Times (March 17, 2021): Italian politics begins to learn to love Europe again

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

Aneta Zachová, Euractiv (March 16, 2021): Czech PM Babiš’ ANO party loses out in opinion poll

Peter Laca, Bloomberg (March 14, 2021): Covid chaos hammers Czech leader’s support as elections loom

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.

Reuters (March 18, 2021): Hungary’s Fidesz quits European conservative group: ‘Time to say goodbye’

Jorge González-Gallarza, Newsweek (March 15, 2021): What happened to Hungary’s Christian Democrats?

AFP (March 15, 2021): Orban’s largesse wins over Romania’s Hungarians

RFE/RL (March 11, 2021): Hungary Denies Independent Radio’s Frequency Bid Amid Media Freedom Concerns

Past 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

Geir Moulson, AP (March 15, 2021): Merkel’s party faces German election ‘wake-up call’

Reuters (March 15, 2021): German liberals coy on kingmaker potential after state vote success

Imanuel Marcus, Berlin Spectator (March 14, 2021): Two State Elections Germany: Incumbents Win, CDU Loses in Both Cases

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.

Xhorxhina Bami, Balkan Insight (March 16, 2021): Kosovo’s Kurti Seeks to Form ‘No Compromise’ Government Quickly

AP (March 15, 2021): Kosovo’s new parliament convenes next week to nominate PM

Perparim Isufi, Balkan Insight (March 15, 2021): Kosovo LDK’s New Leader Promises ‘Comeback’ After Election Thrashing

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