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
#Albania’s political parties have fostered conditions in which the country is always one step away from an engineered crises. Upcoming elections and their immediate aftermath (counting, results, govt formation) have the potential for a crisis. US & EU should draw them a red line. https://t.co/2OqTpZbkq0
— Alfonc Rakaj (@alrakaj) April 6, 2021
Veton Surroi, Tirana Times (April 5, 2021): Elections in a captured state
With national elections in 🇦🇱 to take place this month, this graph, based on @vdeminstitute data, shows that #Albania has relatively high scores on the clientelism and neopatrimonial rule index since democratization, and a slight improvement on the egalitarian democracy index. pic.twitter.com/4R71iDJ2YU
— Sokol Lleshi (@lleshi_sokol) April 6, 2021
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 independence. More
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
In 2014, Scotland voted against independence. A lot has changed since.
Brexit, the coronavirus and internal squabbles in the Scottish National Party have led to more division and could affect the upcoming elections’ results. https://t.co/znLax79BgM
— POLITICOEurope (@POLITICOEurope) April 7, 2021
Chris Giles and Mure Dickie, Financial Times (April 2, 2021): Independent Scotland would face a large hole in its public finances
This is the perfect local govt councillor. You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like https://t.co/b3trdGeStf
— Alan White (@aljwhite) April 7, 2021
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 crisis. More
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
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
Reuters (April 1, 2021): France still planning on regional elections in June: Castex
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
— Transitions magazine (@TransitionsMag) April 7, 2021
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
The Economist (April 6, 2021): Populists are threatening Europe’s independent public broadcasters
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