March 31, 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.
The old city wall of Durres, Albania’s second-largest city and a port on the Adriatic. In ancient times, Durres was known as Dyrrachium and was the starting point of the Roman Via Egnatia. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Fingalo (CC BY-SA 2.0 DE)
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
AFP (March 31, 2021): Through pandemic and protests, Bulgaria’s Borisov hangs on
Margarita Assenova, Jamestown Foundation (March 31, 2021): Russian espionage scandal in Bulgaria
AFP (March 30, 2021): Virus could raise vote-buying risk in Bulgaria election: report
🇲🇰 Tensions between North Macedonia and its eastern neighbour Bulgaria, which is blocking Skopje’s EU membership bid, should “naturally decline” after the 4 April election in Bulgaria, Justice Minister Bojan Marichikj told EURACTIV.@VMakszimov has more.https://t.co/hc7s1qYXIy
— EURACTIV (@EURACTIV) March 30, 2021
bne Intellinews (March 29, 2021): Poll shows protest vote likely to decide Bulgaria’s April general election
Bulgaria heads to the polls this Sunday, April 4.
— POLITICO Poll of Polls (@pollofpolls_EU) March 30, 2021
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
Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Nikolaj Skydsgaard, Reuters (March 31, 2021): Greenland to hold election watched closely by global mining industry
Mary Hui, Quartz (March 31, 2021): Rare earths mining is taking center stage in Greenland’s snap election
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
Llazar Semini, AP (March 29, 2021): Economist who pulled Albania out of 1997 anarchy dead at 58
European Western Balkans (March 26, 2021): EP Report on Albania: April general elections will be essential for the consolidation of democratic procedures
Clare Nuttall, bne Intellinews (March 25, 2021): BALKAN BLOG: Albania’s opposition tries to take over Socialists’ EU accession mantle
Zeljko Trkanjec, Euractiv (March 25, 2021): PM accuses European Commission of interfering in Albania’s elections
Dena Ristani, Euronews (March 25, 2021): Albania’s election season begins amid violence, recriminations
Exit Albania (March 25, 2021): Albanian parties get “creative” to avoid pandemic restrictions on 1st day of electoral campaign
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
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
Ross Lydall, London Evening Standard (March 31, 2021): London mayoral election: Record number of 20 candidates running for City Hall
BBC (March 27, 2021): English local elections: Johnson hails ‘incredible’ vaccine at Tory launch
Josh Sandiford, The Big Issue (March 26, 2021): Local elections 2021: Everything you need to know
Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond recently announced the creation of his new pro-independence Alba Party.
He’s not alone. A host of newly established pro-union parties are hoping to make a splash in the Scottish elections in May. https://t.co/7gcNAeHwCM
— POLITICOEurope (@POLITICOEurope) March 30, 2021
BBC (March 30, 2021): Scottish election 2021: Party leaders clash over need for indyref2
Pan Pylas, AP (March 26, 2021): Former Scottish leader launches new pro-independence party
Parliamentary By-Election in Hartlepool
Also on May 6, the parliamentary constituency of Hartlepool, near Durham, will hold a by-election following the resignation of Labour MP Mike Hill over sexual harassment allegations. For the first time, the newly-formed Northern Independence Party will contest the election, running former Labour MP Thelma Walker as its candidate. The party, ideologically social democratic, advocates for an independent “Northumbria.”
Tom Sheldrick, ITV (March 30, 2021 – video): Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer visits Hartlepool ahead of May by-election
Steerpike, The Spectator (March 30, 2021): Northern Independence leader fails to whippet into shape
Cyprus Parliamentary Elections: May 30, 2021
Cyprus is due to hold parliamentary elections on May 23, 2021. The incumbent government led by the center-right DISY will face off against the center-left AKEL, the main opposition party (with a number of smaller parties also competing). This is all happening in the context of the ongoing Eastern Mediterranean crisis. More
Antigoni Pitta, Cyprus Mail (March 29, 2021): Akel focuses on welfare services and homes in election pledge
TheMayor.eu (March 25, 2021): Cyprus government greenlights single referendum on local authority reform
George Psyllides, Cyprus Mail (March 25, 2021): Parliament plans to pass pay-as-you-throw law before elections
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
Guy Chazan, Financial Times (March 30, 2021): ‘We are a laughing stock’: Covid-19 and Germany’s political malaise
Piotr Buras and Jonathan Hackenbroich, European Council on Foreign Relations (March 30, 2021): How Germany could vote Green but keep the status quo
Emma Beswick, Euronews (March 29, 2021): Six months ahead of Germany’s extraordinary election where do things stand?
Joschka Fischer, Project Syndicate (March 26, 2021): The Return of German Politics
Estonia Municipal Elections: October 17, 2021
Estonia – a poster child for a successful post-communist transition to democracy – will hold municipal elections on October 17, 2021. More
BNN (March 29, 2021): Estonian municipal elections shouldn’t be postponed, most parties say
Slovenia Parliamentary Elections: By June 5, 2022 – snap elections possible
Slovenia is due to hold elections in June 2022, but snap elections are possible. The current government is a conservative minority coalition headed by Janez Janša. It came to power in January 2020 after the center-left minority government of Marjan Šarec collapsed.
Anja Vladisavljevic, Balkan Insight (March 31, 2021): Failure to sack speaker boosts Slovenian opposition’s election hopes
Zeljko Trkanjec, Euractiv (March 30, 2021): Spat over Slovenian parliament speaker pick could lead to snap 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
Nick Ottens, Atlantic Sentinel (March 30, 2021): Fragmented Dutch Parliament Lacks Experience
AP (March 26, 2021): Official count confirms Rutte’s Dutch election victory
Eline Schaart and William Adkins, Politico (March 25, 2021): Coronavirus outbreak, resignations interrupt Dutch coalition talks
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.
Perparim Isufi, Balkan Insight (March 30, 2021): Opposition party clears path to parliament vote on Kosovo president
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
Alexandru Demianenco, New Eastern Europe (March 26, 2021): The AUR and the rise of Romanian nationalism – a new beginning or the remnants of the past?
Bosnia and Herzegovina Elections: November 15, 2020
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) held local elections on November 15, 2020.The elections are taking place in the context of gridlock and ethno-nationalism, but the results delivered a blow to the three main ethnic-based political parties, with opposition forces winning in Sarajevo and other key cities. More
Hikmet Karcic, Newsweek (March 30, 2021): Bosnia and Herzegovina is fertile ground for the far right
Danijel Kovacevic, Balkan Insight (March 25, 2021): Bosnian political legend withdraws from Sarajevo mayoral race
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
William Nattrass, The Spectator (March 31, 2021): How the Sputnik vaccine brought down Slovakia’s prime minister
Peter Laca and Krystof Chamonikolas, Bloomberg (March 30, 2021): Slovakia has new leader as Russia vaccine feud ousts premier
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