Europe This Week: May 26, 2021

May 26, 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 city of Hvar, Croatia. Croatia holds local election runoffs on May 30, following the May 16 first round. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Bernard Gagnon (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Cyprus Parliamentary Elections: May 30, 2021

Cyprus is due to hold parliamentary elections on May 23, 2021. The center-right DISY – currently in the majority – will face off against the center-left AKEL, the main opposition party (with a number of smaller parties also competing). Cyprus is a presidential system (the only full presidential system in the EU), so these elections will function as more of a test for the parties ahead of the 2023 presidential election. The current president is President Nicos Anastasiades (from DISY). This is all happening in the context of the ongoing Eastern Mediterranean crisisMore

in-cyprus (May 26, 2021): Vote battle intensifies as Election Day looms in Cyprus

Croatia Local Runoffs May 30, 2021

Croatia held local elections for on May 16, and will hold runoffs in some places on May 30, 2021. These elections got a bit of a shakeup when Milan Bandic, the mayor of Zagreb, died in February after a combined 20 years in office (according to some reports, he was the world’s longest-serving mayor). Although Bandic had a devoted following, he was also controversial, and embroiled in a number of scandals. A former communist, he joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) when Croatia began holding multiparty elections in 1990, but later broke off to start his own party.

Zeljko Trkanjec, Euractiv (May 26, 2021): Croatia’s governing party HDZ has backing of voters, survey reveals

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

Linus Folke Jensen, LSM (May 25, 2021): Young political candidates step forward for Latvia’s local elections

DW (May 24, 2021): Belarus and Latvia expel diplomats in ice hockey flag furor

Germany Saxony-Anhalt State Elections: June 5, 2021, and Bundestag Elections: September 26, 2021 (plus other 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

Marcel Fürstenau, DW (May 26, 2021): German politicians keep coalition options open ahead of election

AFP (May 25, 2021): Germany’s far-right AfD chooses hardline team ahead of national elections

Holly Ellyatt, CNBC (May 21, 2021): German industry could see winners and losers as Berlin plots a new political path, ex-Siemens boss says

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

Elisa Braun, Pauline de Saint Remy, and Clea Caulcutt, Politico (May 26, 2021): French minister’s relationship with staffer casts shadow over election run

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

YLE (May 26, 2021): Finland starts casting early votes, sometimes drive-in style (May 20, 2021): Finland launches campaign to prevent disinformation ahead of elections

Bulgaria Snap Parliamentary Elections: July 11, 2021

Bulgaria is holding fresh parliamentary elections on July 11 after no party formed a government following the April 4 elections. In those polls, 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 ruled out forming a coalition with GERB. Trifonov’s main platform was anti-corruption – indeed, corruption was the biggest issue in the election. More

Teodora Trifonova, Axios (May 25, 2021): Watergate-style scandal rocks Bulgaria ahead of election

RFE/RL (May 21, 2021): Bulgaria Says It Remains Opposed To EU Accession Talks For North Macedonia

Svetoslav Todorov, Balkan Insight (May 21, 2021): Bulgaria’s Caretaker Interior Minister Backs Opposition’s Eavesdropping Claims

Sofia Globe (May 20, 2021): Ultra-nationalists, populists form ‘Bulgarian Patriots’ alliance for July elections

Jamie Dettmer, Voice of America (May 20, 2021): Bulgaria’s Former Leader Battles Corruption Claims as Caretaker Government Starts Clean-Up

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 (May 24, 2021): Czech President bars unfriendly media from receiving information

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 populist Janez Janša. It came to power in January 2020 after the center-left minority government of Marjan Šarec collapsed.

Valentina Dimitrievska, bne Intellinews (May 27, 2021): Slovenia’s PM Jansa survives impeachment motion

Valerie Hopkins, Financial Times (May 23, 2021): Slovenia’s Jansa follows Hungary down authoritarian path: Prime minister turns on judges and media ahead of country assuming EU presidency

Hungary Parliamentary Elections: By Spring 2022 (or earlier)

Hungary is due to hold parliamentary elections by Spring 2022, although snap elections are possible. Prime Minster Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party has become increasingly authoritarian, to the concern of many both in Hungary and in the international community.

Hungary Today (May 25, 2021): Press Roundup: Opposition Discusses Chances of Electoral Victory

George Parker, Ben Hall, and Jim Brunsden, Financial Times (May 25, 2021): Johnson to welcome Orban to Downing Street

Past Europe Elections

Spain, Catalonia Regional Elections: February 14, 2021

Catalonia held regional elections on February 14, 2021. Pro-independence parties won a majority of the seats and have recently formed a government.

In addition, Madrid held 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 took place in a highly polarized environment, as conservative incumbent Isabel Díaz Ayuso from the Popular Party defeated leftist firebrand Pablo Inglesias.

Daniel Dombey, Financial Times (May 26, 2021): Spain’s top court warns against pardoning jailed Catalan leaders: Supreme court opinion comes as Sánchez government signals possible move

Euronews/AP (May 21, 2021): Catalonia’s new president Pere Aragonés will ask Madrid for a referendum on independence

AFP (May 21, 2021): New Catalan leader vows to keep up independence fight

Albania Parliamentary Elections: April 25, 2021

Albania held parliamentary elections on April 25, 2021 in a tense political climate with several violent incidents. Since communism collapsed in 1990, Albania has held competitive elections and several transitions of power between political parties. The elections were close, and the incumbent Socialist Party won a third term in office, defeating the main opposition center-right Democratic Party. More

Altin Gjeta, Balkan Insight (May 21, 2021): Albania Remains Hostage to Its Communist Past

Keida Kostreci, Voice of America (May 21, 2021): US Sanction of Former Albanian PM Sends Message but Raises Questions

Europe Elections in 2021 and 2022

Croatia Local Elections: May 16, 2021

Cyprus Parliamentary Elections: May 30, 2021

Latvia Local Elections: June 5, 2021

Germany, Saxony-Anhalt State Elections: June 6, 2021

Finland Municipal Elections: June 13, 2021

France Regional Elections: June 13, 2021

Bulgaria Fresh Parliamentary Elections: July 11, 2021

Norway Parliamentary Elections: September 13, 2021

Iceland Parliamentary Elections: September 25, 2021

Germany Bundestag Elections, plus state elections in Berlin and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and probably Thuringia: September 26, 2021

Austria, Upper Austria State and Municipal Elections: September 26, 2021

Czech Republic Parliamentary Elections: October 8-9, 2021

Italy Municipal Elections, plus regional elections in Calabria: October 10-11, 2021

Estonia Local Elections: October 17, 2021

North Macedonia Local Elections: October 2021 (due)

Portugal Local Elections: October 2021 (due)

Bulgaria Presidential Election: October/November 2021 (due)

Denmark Regional and Municipal Elections: November 16, 2021

Kosovo Local Elections: Due in 2021

Serbia Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: March/April 2022

France Presidential Election: April 2022 (due)

Austria Presidential Election: April 2022 (due)

Hungary Parliamentary Elections: April 2022 (due)

Slovenia Parliamentary Elections: By June 5, 2022

Malta Parliamentary Elections: June 2022 (due – snap elections possible)

Sweden Parliamentary Elections: September 11, 2022

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2022 (due)

Latvia Parliamentary Elections: October 2022 (due)

Slovenia Presidential Election: October/November 2022 (due)

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