Europe This Week: June 16, 2021

June 16, 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.

A campaign poster for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in Paris during France’s 2017 presidential election. Le Pen’s party is eyeing its first regional presidency in the upcoming regional elections. Photo credit: Flickr/Lorie Shaul (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

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

John Lichfield, Politico (June 17, 2021): France on the verge of a nervous breakdown

The Economist (June 15, 2021): The French hard right eyes its first regional presidency

Leila Abboud, Financial Times (June 16, 2021): Marine Le Pen looks for an electoral boost on the French Riviera: Win in regional ballot could lift far right leader’s chances in 2022 presidential poll

Elian Peltier, New York Times (June 12, 2021): French Political Leader Pelted With Flour During Protest

Aude Mazoue, France24 (June 10, 2021): Macron slap may herald a tense campaign ahead of French presidential 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

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight (June 16, 2021): North Macedonia, Bulgaria Boost Talks on History Dispute

Boryana Dzhambazova and Lili Bayer, Politico (June 15, 2021): Bulgaria sinks under wave of pre-election scandals: Ahead of elections on July 11, Bulgarians are confronted by alarming revelations of state capture

Milana Nikolova, Emerging Europe (June 15, 2021): Bulgarians look to Romania’s Kövesi to fight high-level corruption

Reuters (June 11, 2021): We are here for you, EU chief prosecutor tells Bulgarians

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

Iceland Parliamentary Elections: September 25, 2021

Iceland holds elections for the Althing, its parliament (which has a strong claim to be the oldest parliament in the world), September 25, 2021. The current government is a broad coalition of the Left-Green Movement, the conservative Independence Party, and the agrarian Progressive Party. More

Andie Sophia Fontaine, The Reykjavik Grapevine (June 16, 2021): Poll: Conservatives See Upswing, Progressives And Reform Party Slide Back

Germany Bundestag Elections: September 26, 2021 (plus state elections throughout the year)

Germany is holding 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

Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg (June 14, 2021): How Germany’s Greens Moved From Fringe to Contenders

Reuters (June 13, 2021): Germany’s Laschet vows to raise military spending if elected

Erika Solomon, Financial Times (June 13, 2021): Greens vow to turn Germany into ‘socio-ecological economy’

Kathleen Schuster, DW (June 11, 2021): Retirement pay: The most controversial German election issue

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

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

Radio Prague International (June 16, 2021): Czech TV poll puts Pirate Party, Mayors and Independents at the top

Lenka Ponikelska, Bloomberg (June 16, 2021): Pirate Leader Seeks to Oust Czech Billionaire and Embrace Europe

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. Since January 2021, Estonia’s government has been a grand coalition of the center-right Reform Party and the centrist Centre Party, which has historically been supported by Estonia’s Russian community. Following the 2019 elections, Centre shocked the country by forming a government with the far-right EKRE, but PM Juri Ratas was forced to resign in January 2021 following a real estate scandal. Subsequently, Reform – previously in opposition – formed a coalition with Centre as the junior partner, making Reform’s Kaja Kallas Estonia’s first female prime minister. More

ERR News (June 14, 2021): Speaker calls Riigikogu presidential election session for August 30

North Macedonia Local Elections: October 2021 (due)

North Macedonia is due to hold local elections in October 2021. These follow parliamentary elections in July 2020. Following a historic agreement with Greece, and a name change, North Macedonia joined NATO in 2020 and is currently in talks to join the EU (although now Bulgaria is trying to hold that up). The country’s politics are fragmented and fractious. The 2020 elections were extremely close, but ultimately PM Zoran Zaev and his Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) were able to once again form a government with the backing of the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), the main ethnic Albanian party (ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of the population).

SDSM also controls most of the municipalities heading into the upcoming local elections, having beaten the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE in a majority of municipalities and ousting the VMRO-DMPNE mayor of Skopje.

Denmark Regional and Municipal Elections: November 16, 2021

Denmark is holding regional and municipal elections on November 16, 2021. The current government consists of the Social Democrats, with confidence and supply from several other left-of-center parties, led by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. This government came to power following the 2019 elections, which saw the defeat of Lars Løkke Rasmussen‘s center-right coalition. The Social Democrats currently hold the most seats on local councils throughout the country, and control the governments of Copenhagen and the second-biggest city, Aarhus. (June 15, 2021): Danish Social Democrats slump in polls as corona effect wears off

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.

Reuters (June 15, 2021): Hungary’s parliament passes anti-LGBT law ahead of 2022 election

Reid Standish and Balint Szalai, RFE/RL (June 13, 2021): ‘The Underhanded Sale Of Our Sovereignty’: How China Became An Election Issue In Hungary

Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian (June 12, 2021): Opposition forces Orbán into U-turn over Chinese campus plan in Budapest

Poland Parliamentary Elections: Fall 2023 (snap possible)

Poland is due to hold parliamentary elections in fall 2023, but snap elections are possible if the three-party government headed by the conservative Law and Justice does not hold together.

Euronews/AP (June 14, 2021): Poland’s ruling conservatives suffer defeat in local mayoral election

Maciej Onoszko and Wojciech Moskwa, June 13, 2021): Municipal Ballot Loss Revives Divisions in Polish Coalition

Wojciech Kość, Politico (June 12, 2021): Poland’s opposition hopes local election will turn its fortunes

Past Europe Elections

Finland Local Elections: June 13, 2021 (postponed from April)

Finland held 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. The conservative National Coalition Party won the most seats in the local elections, with the Social Democrats placing second. The far-right Finns Party made gains in its vote share. More

Leo Laikola, Bloomberg (June 14, 2021): Finland’s Opposition Conservatives Triumph in Local Elections

Jari Tanner, AP (June 13, 2021): Finland’s local elections a test for nation’s young leader

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

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

Fjori Sinoruka, Balkan Insight (June 14, 2021): Basha Reelected Leader of Albania’s Democrats Despite Election Rout

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

Reuters (June 13, 2021): Dutch political gridlock deepens as key lawmaker quits Christian Democrat party

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

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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