Europe This Week: March 24, 2021

March 24, 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.

Vitosha Boulevard, the main shopping street of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Stolichanin (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

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

Petar Bankov, LSE’s EUROPP (March 24, 2021): What to expect from the 2021 Bulgarian parliamentary election

Asya Metodieva, Visegrad Insight (March 24, 2021): Upcoming elections are unlikely to overcome the crisis in Bulgaria

Milana Nikolova, Emerging Europe (March 22, 2021): Corruption and Covid-19 dominate Bulgaria’s election campaign

Todd Prince, RFE/RL (March 22, 2021): Bulgarian PM challenged By former right-hand man backed by U.S. trucking tycoon

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

Dena Ristani, Euronews (March 25, 2021): Albania’s election season begins amid violence, recriminations 

Anthony B. Kim and Tim Doescher, Heritage Foundation (March 24, 2021): U.S. should encourage Albania’s transition to free market economy

Fjori Sinoruka, Balkan Insight (March 19, 2021): Deeply divided Albania braces for turbulent election

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. These elections are taking place in a highly polarized environment, as conservative incumbent Isabel Díaz Ayuso faces off against leftist firebrand Pablo Inglesias, who surprised everyone by leaving his role as deputy PM to run in Madrid.

The Economist (March 27, 2021): Madrid’s snap election shakes up Spanish politics

Fernando Peinado, El País (March 25, 2021): Spain’s social media provocateurs gear up for digital war ahead of Madrid election

Fernando Heller, Euractiv (March 23, 2021): Spain’s centre-right Popular Party predicted to win Madrid snap poll

Eoghan Gilmartin and Tommy Greene, Jacobin (March 19, 2021): Pablo Iglesias’s Madrid Campaign Can Shake Up Spanish Politics

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

Matt Mathers, The Independent (March 26, 2021): Scottish independence: 53% of voters back leaving UK if EU membership guaranteed, poll suggest

AFP (March 24, 2021): Scotland’s leader says election success will lead to independence vote

Croatia Local Elections: May 16, 2021

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

Anja Vladisavljevic, Balkan Insight (March 22, 2021): As Zagreb quake anniversary passes, Croatia’s anger grows

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

Juris Paiders, Eurasia Review (March 26, 2021): It’s About Time We Started Discussing China’s Influence In Latvia – OpEd

Germany, Saxony-Anhalt State Elections: June 6, 2021 (plus more elections throughout the year)

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. 

The states of Baden-Württemburg and Rhineland-Palatinate held elections on March 14. In both states, the incumbents won (in Baden-Wüttemburg, that was the Greens, boosted by the popularity of incumbent minister-president – the German equivalent of a governor – Winfried Kretschmann. In Rhineland-Palatinate, it was the Social Democrats). Coalition negotiations are still going on to decide which parties will form the new governments in those states. More

Alex Kliment, GZERO (March 24, 2021): What went wrong in Germany?

Matthew Karnitschnig, Politico (March 24, 2021): German conservatives mired in ‘the swamp’

Jeffrey Gedmin, American Purpose (March 24, 2021): Surveilling Germany’s Right-Wing Populists

Nick Ottens, Atlantic Sentinel (March 21, 2021): Don’t Blame Laschet for Poor State Election Results

Reuters (March 19, 2021): Germany’s Greens vow to scrap Russian gas pipeline after election

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

Clara Bauer-Babef and Mathieu Pollet, Euractiv (March 19, 2021): Left-wing alliance in northern France: a taster for the 2022 presidential election?

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 22, 2021): Czech public broadcaster’s independence threatened ahead of elections

Past Europe Elections

Netherlands Parliamentary Elections: March 17, 2021

Netherlands held parliamentary elections on March 17, 2020. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right VVD once again won the most seats, but negotiations continue to decide which parties will make up the next government. More

Frida Ghitis, World Politics Review (March 25, 2021): The Dutch election’s one clear winner: Mark Rutte

Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times (March 19, 2021): A pro-Europe, anti-populist youth party scored surprising gains in the Dutch 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.

RFE/RL (March 22, 2021): Kosovo’s New Parliament Elects Kurti As New Prime Minister

Oliver Moffat, Global Risk Insights (March 19, 2021): A Never-Ending Saga: Kosovo’s Elections

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. However, a subsequent scandal over the Russian Sputnik COVID vaccine has engulfed the government, threatening its collapse. More

Jon Henley and Philiip Oltermann, The Guardian (March 24, 2021): Slovakia: two more cabinet ministers quit in tensions over Sputnik vaccine

DW (March 22, 2021): Slovakia PM offers to step down to end coalition crisis

James Shotter, Financial Times (March 21, 2021): Slovak PM ready to step down over Russian vaccine feud

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