Europe This Week: April 21, 2021

April 21, 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.

Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Sebastian Dubiel (CC BY-SA 3.0 de)

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 21, 2021): Shooting in Albania leaves 1 dead, 4 injured before election

Exit News Albania (April 21, 2021): US, EU Embassies Call on Albanian Leaders for Restraint after Killing of Man ahead of Elections 

Llazar Semini, AP (April 21, 2021): Albania’s president harshly attacks PM ahead of Sunday polls

Altin Gjeta, Balkan Insight (April 19, 2021): Albania’s Coming Election Will Decide Democracy’s Fate

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.

Elsa Garcia de Blas, El País (April 23, 2021): Chaos reigns at Madrid electoral debate, as Pablo Iglesias walks out and program cut short after clashes with far-right Vox candidate

EU Reporter (April 20, 2021: Spanish group fighting antisemitism launches campaign against anti-Semitic parties and presidential candidate in Madrid’s upcoming regional election

AFP (April 18, 2021): Campaigning opens for Madrid’s May 4 regional election

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

Nick Eardley, BBC (April 20, 2021): Scottish election 2021: Can independence supporters force another referendum?

Croatia Local Elections: May 16, 2021

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

Zeljko Trkanjec, Euractiv (April 20, 2021): Stop using Roma in election campaigns, their representative pleads

HINA (April 18, 2021): Zagreb Mayoral Candidate: Wide Coalition Will Be Needed in City Assembly

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

AP (April 21, 2021): Cyprus president in Athens before Geneva talks

George Psyllides, Cyprus Mail (April 16, 2021): Poll tips ruling Disy to win May elections

Miranda Christou, openDemocracy (April 16, 2021): The remnants of Golden Dawn are winning support in Cyprus

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

Aleksi Teivainen, Helsinki Times (April 16, 2021): HS: Finns Party has widened lead over Social Democrats

Norway Parliamentary Elections: September 13, 2021

Norway holds parliamentary elections on September 13, 2021. More

Mike Avila, The Points Guy (April 22, 2021): Norway’s Green Party wants personal flight quotas to reduce air travel demand

Iceland Parliamentary Elections: September 25, 2021

Iceland has scheduled its next parliamentary elections for September 25, 2021. More

Reykjavik Grapevine (April 19, 2021): Poll: Centre Party Disappearing; Left-Greens And Conservatives See Support Rise

Germany Bundestag Elections: September 26, 2021 (plus various state 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. 

Following an intense fight, CDU and CSU have nominated CDU leader Armin Laschet to be their candidate for chancellor. He defeated the Bavarian Markus Söder, who is more popular with voters. Meanwhile, over the past year, the Greens have taken SPD’s place as the main center-left party. They have portrayed themselves as responsible and mainstream, and have governed as such when in state governments. Consequently, Annalena Baerbock could become the first Green head of government in the history of the world. However, despite his unpopularity, Armin Laschet remains the favorite to succeed Merkel as chancellor. Nonetheless, German voters have a real choice and Baerbock, who comes from the party’s “realo” (moderate) wing as opposed to the “fundi” (radical) wing – has an actual shot at the top job.  More

The Economist (April 24, 2021): At last, German voters will get a proper choice in a national election

Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch (April 21, 2021): Germany’s federal election may be the Georgia Senate race of this autumn

BBC (April 21, 2021): Who are the rivals to lead Germany after Chancellor Merkel?

Melissa Eddy, New York Times (April 20, 2021): Chancellor’s Race Presents Germans With a Challenge to Change

Christoph Strack, DW (April 20, 2021): Armin Laschet: The man set to be the CDU’s chancellor candidate

Erika Solomon, Financial Times (April 20, 2021): Annalena Baerbock hopes to somersault to top of German politics

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

Elizabeth Braw, Foreign Policy (April 21, 2021): Western Powers Need to Get More Creative Against Russia

Anna Smolchenko and Jan Flemr, AFP (April 19, 2021): Tension rising between Russia and Czech Republic following diplomats expulsion

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

Pekka Vanttinen, Euractiv (April 19, 2021): Greenland gets left-wing government

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. In total, six parties won seats, producing a fragmented parliament.

Borissov has taken himself out of the running to continue as prime minister. More

Mario Tanev, SeeNews (April 20, 2021): Bulgaria’s president hands mandate to GERB-UDF coalition to form govt

Sofia Globe (April 19, 2021): President Radev’s talks with Bulgarian parties fail to provide Cabinet clarity

Ivaylo Dinev and Petar Bankov, LSE’s EUROPP (April 19, 2021): Who will lead Bulgaria’s next government?

Rad Manolov, Euractiv (April 19, 2021): Slavi Trifonov: Bulgaria’s miracle worker

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