Europe This Week: June 9, 2021

June 9, 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 train station in Helsinki. Finland holds local elections June 13. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Revontuli (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

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

Charlie Duxbury, Politico (June 12, 2021): Finnish far right hopes to use local elections as national springboard

Jari Tanner, AP (June 11, 2021): Finland elections test for young PM, Social Democrat leader

France Regional Elections: June 20, 2021 and Presidential Election: April 2022 (due)

France holds regional elections on June 20, 2021, with a second round on June 27 (delayed from June 13). 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

James Harrington, (June 9, 2021): EXPLAINED: What’s at stake in France’s regional elections

France24 (June 8, 2021): Firebrand leftist accused of pushing conspiracy theories over French elections

Elizabeth Pineau, AP (June 8, 2021): The candidate and her hijab: identity matters in French elections

AFP (June 8, 2021): France’s Macron slapped in face during crowd stop

France24 (June 7, 2021 – video): French regional elections: June vote comes one year ahead of presidential ballot

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

Aleksia Petrova, SeeNews (June 10, 2021): Bulgaria’s GERB-UDF coalition keeps lead ahead of July 11 snap vote – polls

Ben Hall, Financial Times (June 9, 2021): Bulgarian strongman loses grip as US tackles corruption

Krassen Nikolov, Euractiv (June 9, 2021): Tensions in Bulgaria flare up after Turkish-Bulgarian party meets Erdogan

Krassen Nikolov and Zeljko Trkanjec, Euractiv (June 7, 2021): Erdogan wants a stake in Bulgaria’s politics

Sofia Globe (June 7, 2021): Bulgaria’s July elections: Trifonov says he will not be a candidate

Teodora Trifonova, Axios (June 4, 2021): U.S. sanctions Bulgarian power brokers for corruption

Norway Parliamentary Elections: September 13, 2021

Norway holds parliamentary elections on September 13, 2021. Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who heads a center-right coalition, has been in office since 2013. More

Ott Ummelas, Bloomberg (June 5, 2021): Norway’s Opposition Gets Second PM Candidate Ahead of Election

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 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

Jens Thurau, DW (June 10, 2021): Germany’s Green party: Internal strife and drop in opinion polls

Nette Nöstlinger, Politico (June 7, 2021): Big win for Merkel’s party confounds pundits and pollsters

Holly Ellyatt, CNBC (June 7, 2021): Merkel’s party wins big in crunch state election as Greens ‘hype’ fades

Thomas Escritt, Reuters (June 6, 2021): Conservative win in German state election boosts Laschet’s chancellery hopes

Italy, Mayoral Elections in Rome, Milan, Turin, Naples and other cities and regional elections in Calabria: October 10-11, 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.

AFP (June 11, 2021): In Draghi’s Italy, Far Right Gains Ground with Meloni

Wanted in Rome (June 10, 2021): Italy’s centre-right unveils candidate in race for Rome mayor

Gavin Jones, Reuters (June 6, 2021): Former Italy PM Conte vows new start for 5-Star as legal battle resolved

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

ERR News (June 8, 2021): Riigikogu speaker: Mass immigration major topic in October local elections

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. A number of opposition parties plan to hold a primary to field a single candidate for prime minister. Gergely Karácsony, the liberal mayor of Budapest, is seen by many as a leading candidate to challenge Orbán.

NPR (June 11, 2021): Hungarians Grow Frustrated With Prime Minister’s Close Relationship With China

Daniel McLaughlin, Irish Times (June 11, 2021): Hungary’s Viktor Orban targets LGBT+ rights and migrants as election nears

Ben Hall, Financial Times (June 9, 2021): Backlash against Chinese campus gives Orban pause for thought

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

Austria’s Upper Austria (whose capital is Linz, home of the Linzertorte cake) state holds elections in September.

Austria’s federal government fell in a no-confidence vote – the first in Austria’s history – in May 2019 nfollowing the “Ibiza-gate” scandal involving the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), which had been part of the coalition headed by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the center-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache was filmed on the Spanish island of Ibiza offering state contracts in exchange for money to a woman who claimed to be the niece of a Russian oligarch. Subsequent snap elections gave ÖVP the most seats, and the FPÖ saw a 10 percent loss in its vote share. Ultimately, ÖVP formed a coalition with the Greens, and Kurz once again became chancellor.

Austria is due to hold a presidential election by April 2022, but the role is largely ceremonial, with the chancellor instead holding most executive power.

AFP (June 7, 2021): Austrian far-right party nominates Kickl as new leader

Past Europe Elections

Latvia Municipal Elections: June 5, 2021

Latvia held municipal elections on June 5, 2021, with the exception of Riga, which held a snap city council election last year, and two other cities. These were Latvia’s first local elections since the county enacted regional administrative forms that significantly reduced the number of local government bodies, from 119 to 42. Turnout was a record low, and opposition parties won the most seats.

Latvia has been a democracy since regaining independence in 1991 (of note, none of the three Baltic nations ever actually recognized the Soviet occupation), and is a member of NATO and the European Union. These elections are happening in a heated geopolitical climate.

Last year’s Riga snap elections surprised political observers by knocking, Harmony, the party that Latvia’s Russian community supports, from the top spot. Harmony has historically been strong in Riga, the capital, but last year’s Riga elections surprised political observers by knocking Harmony down from the top spot. Instead, an alliance of the liberal Development/For! party and social democrat environmentalist Progressives won the most seats and formed the local government.

In addition, parliamentary elections are due in October 2022.  More

Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov, (June 7, 2021): First local elections after Latvian municipal reform mired by low turnout

Latvian Public Broadcasting (June 6, 2021): Opposition parties do best in Latvia’s local elections

Cyprus Parliamentary Elections: May 30, 2021

Cyprus held parliamentary elections on May 23, 2021. The center-right DISY – currently in the majority – maintained its majority, defeating the center-left AKEL, the main opposition party (with a number of smaller parties also competing). Notably, the far-right ELAM doubled its vote share from the 2016 elections, winning 6.8 percent of the vote.

Cyprus is a presidential system (the only full presidential system in the EU), so these elections 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

Menelaos Hadjicostis, AP (June 10, 2021): Cyprus elects its 1st-ever female parliament speaker

John Psaropoulos, Al Jazeera (June 7, 2021): Cyprus’ reunification: What next after failed talks?

Spain, Snap Regional Elections in Madrid: May 4, 2021

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 faced against leftist firebrand Pablo Inglesias.

AFP (June 11, 2021): After Pablo Iglesias’ departure, Spain’s Podemos names new head

Iván Llamazares, LSE’s EUROPP blog (June 7, 2021): Have we really seen the last of Pablo Iglesias?

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

Euronews (June 9, 2021): Albanian MPs have just voted to impeach their president. Here’s why

DW (June 9, 2021): Albania parliament impeaches President Ilir Meta, removes him from office

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 – three months after the vote – to decide which parties will make up the next government. More

Ben Maas, The Conversation (June 10, 2021): Dutch elections show the promise and perils of proportional representation

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Finland Municipal Elections: June 13, 2021

France Regional Elections: June 20 and 27, 2021 (delayed from June 13 and June 20)

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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