Europe This Week: April 7, 2021

April 7, 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 central train station in Varna, Bulgaria, on the Black Sea. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Extrawurst (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

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 (April 6, 2021): Albania sends troops, police, to end flight control strike

Euronews (April 6, 2021): April 25 elections, Matthew Palmer “virtually meets” Albanian political leaders

Veton Surroi, Tirana Times (April 5, 2021): Elections in a captured state

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.

AP (April 7, 2021): Madrid riot police keep protesters away from far-right rally

Reuters (April 2, 2021): Fire bomb attack on Spanish leftist party’s office

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

Scottish Elections

David McCann, Slugger O’Toole (April 7, 2021): A primer for the Scottish elections

Stephen Daisley, The Spectator (April 7, 2021): Salmond could spark a nationalist war over Europe

BBC (April 7, 2021): Scottish Election 2021: George Galloway pledges to tackle ‘scourge of separatism’

Vernon Bogdanor, The Scotsman (April 5, 2021): Scottish independence in the EU would leave Scots with less control over their affairs than within the Union

Chris Giles and Mure Dickie, Financial Times (April 2, 2021): Independent Scotland would face a large hole in its public finances

Local Elections

Joe Murphy, London Evening Standard (April 7, 2021): London mayoral election: New poll puts Sadiq Khan way out in front of Conservative rival Shaun Bailey

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 crisisMore

George Psyllides, Cyprus Mail (April 4, 2021): Parliamentary elections: edging out the big players

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

LETA (April 7, 2021): Latvia braces for upcoming municipal elections; submission of election lists officially over

Una Aleksandra Bērziņa-Čerenkova, Foreign Policy Research Institute (April 7, 2021): Go with the devil you don’t know?” Latvians still believe in economic cooperation with China

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

Richard Connor, DW (April 7, 2021): COVID pandemic pushes Germany to largest deficit since reunification

Iain Rogers, Bloomberg (April 7, 2021): How Germany’s election has thrown open the Merkel succession race

Josie Le Blond, Euractiv (April 7, 2021): German Greens mull top candidate for landmark post-Merkel election

AP (April 7, 2021): Germany’s Greens to pick candidate for chancellor April 19

Ben Knight, DW (April 6, 2021): Germany’s far-right AfD searching for new momentum ahead of election

Reuters (April 1, 2021): German Greens seek state tie-up with Merkel’s CDU before September vote

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

Regional Elections

Reuters (April 1, 2021): France still planning on regional elections in June: Castex

Presidential Election

TheLocal.FR (April 7, 2021): Five minutes to understand France’s 2022 presidential election

Victor Mallet, Financial Times (April 5, 2021): French politics: Macron faces test of character as Le Pen’s popularity grows

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.

Massimiliano Ferraresi, LSE’s EUROPP (April 8, 2021): Evidence from Italy: How local governments manipulate tax and spend policies to help win re-election

Silvia Marchetti, EU Observer (April 6, 2021): Far-right alarm bells for next Italian election

Poland Parliamentary Elections: Fall 2023 (snap possible)

Poland is due to hold parliamentary elections in fall 2023, but could call snap elections if the three parties in the conservative government coalition don’t all vote to approve the EU stimulus plan. However, many analysts believe that early elections are unlikely to happen because polls show that the opposition would likely win. Therefore, the coalition parties have a strong incentive to hold together.

Maciej Martewicz, Bloomberg (April 7, 2021): Polish coalition may collapse over EU plan, Kaczynski warns

Jo Harper, Emerging Europe (April 6, 2021): Do early elections beckon in Poland?

Past Europe Elections

Greenland Snap Parliamentary Elections: April 6, 2021

Greenland held hold snap parliamentary elections on April 6, 2021 after the government coalition fractured following disagreements over a China-backed rare earth minerals mining project at Kvanefjeld in the south. The long-dominant Siumut (Forward), which backed the project, lost to the left-wing green Inuit Ataqatigiit, which opposes the mine.

Greenland remains part of Denmark but has autonomy over domestic policy, although there is growing support for eventual independence. In these elections, pro-independence parties increased their vote share. More

Yasuo Takeuchi, Nikkei Asia (April 8, 2021): Greenland says no to China-backed rare-earth mine in election

AP (April 7, 2021): Main opposition party against mining wins Greenland election

Stephen Van Dine, iPolitics Canada (April 6, 2021): The bear, the dragon, and Canada’s Arctic

Jari Tanner, AP (April 6, 2021): Greenland election shows divide over rare-earth metals mine

Paul Waldie, Globe and Mail (April 4, 2021): Greenland has an election on Tuesday. Why are the U.S. and China so interested in its outcome?

John Last, CBC News (April 2, 2021): Mining — and independence — at the heart of Greenland’s election

Bulgaria Parliamentary Elections: April 4, 2021

Bulgaria held parliamentary elections on April 4, 2021. PM Boyko Borissov’s center-right GERB won the most seats, but lost ground and failed to win a majority. New parties running against the establishment did surprisingly well – in fact,  a party called There Is Such a People, led by TV star Stanislav Trifonov, came in second and has ruled out forming a coalition with GERB. Trifonov’s main platform was anti-corruption – indeed, corruption was the biggest issue in the election. Borissov will have to get creative if he wants to cobble together a coalition to remain in power, and if he can’t do it, Bulgaria could face new elections. More

Emilia Zankina, Yuxiang Lin and Tim Haughton, Washington Post (April 7, 2021): Bulgaria’s election was all about corruption, not covid-19. Here are 4 takeaways.

Tom Junes, Balkan Insight (April 6, 2021): Election surprises end Bulgaria’s political stability

Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Europe (April 6, 2021): Bulgaria’s election: The EU’s negligence of corruption and its values

Valerie Hopkins, Financial Times (April 5, 2021: Borisov faces rising anti-establishment vote in Bulgaria elections

Denitsa Koseva, bne Intellinews (April 5, 2021): Few routes to power in Bulgaria’s fragmented new parliament

DW (April 5, 2021): Bulgaria election: PM Borissov’s party wins but falls short of majority

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

AP (April 6, 2021): Dutch lawmakers set to resume stalled coalition talks

NL Times (April 5, 2021): ING: New elections may be needed in Netherlands as pressure on Rutte grows

Mike Corder, AP (April 1, 2021): Lawmakers censure Dutch PM Rutte over 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.

AP (April 4, 2021): Kosovo gets new president, its second female leader

RFE/RL (April 4, 2021): Kosovo’s parliament elects reformist lawyer Osmani As president

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

Siegfried Mortkowitz, Politico (April 1, 2021): Slovakia gets new government, ending Russian vaccine crisis

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.

Kseniya Kirillova, Jamestown Foundation (April 6, 2021): Russian influence in Montenegro could create a threat for NATO’s information security

Europe-Wide Analysis

The Economist (April 6, 2021): Populists are threatening Europe’s independent public broadcasters

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