Europe This Week: June 23, 2021

June 23, 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.

Campaign posters in Paris during France’s 2017 presidential election. France heads to the polls this weekend for the second round of regional elections. The next presidential election is set for April 2022. Photo credit: Flickr/Lorie Shaull (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

France Regional Elections Second Round: June 27, 2021 and Presidential Election: April 10 and 24, 2022

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

The Local France (June 22, 2021): Polling dates announced for France’s hotly-contested 2022 presidential election

Rym Momtaz, Politico (June 22, 2021): ‘French democracy is sick.’ Low election turnout sparks grave concern

Saskya Vandoorne and Nina Avramova, CNN (June 21, 2021): Macron and Le Pen dealt setback in French regional elections marred by record low turnout

France24 (June 20, 2021): As it happened: Conservatives lead French regional elections marred by record-low turnout

Sarah Elzas, RFI (June 18, 2021): France’s regional election campaigns hijacked by ‘toxic’ national politics

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

Antonia Kotseva and Georgi Gotev, Euractiv (June 24, 2021): EPP sticks with Borissov despite corruption scandals

Sofia Globe (June 23, 2021): Bulgaria’s July elections: CEC rejects complaint by Borissov’s GERB against caretaker government

Teodora Trifonova, Axios (June 18, 2021): Corruption concerns shape politics in Central and Eastern Europe

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

Imanuel Marcus, Berlin Spectator (June 22, 2021): Germany: Conservatives Present Extensive Election Program

Laurenz Gehrke, Joshua Posaner, and Johanna Treeck, Politico (June 21, 2021): 5 things to know about German conservatives’ election plan: Governing parties’ post-Merkel pledges include no new taxes, no diesel bans and a return to balanced budgets.

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

Richard Milne, Financial Times (June 23, 2021): Estonian PM warns west of damage from Covid-induced authoritarianism: Flag-bearer for liberal democracy fears that citizen rights and freedoms are being eroded

ERR News (June 21, 2021): [Conservative] Isamaa leader: No fear about [far-right] EKRE ahead of local elections

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.

Nikola Đorđević, Emerging Europe (June 23, 2021): Macedonians frustrated by slow pace of EU accession, reveals new poll

AP (June 23, 2021): North Macedonia disappointed over setback at EU talks

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.

Naomi O’Leary, Irish Times (June 23, 2021): Hungary’s anti-gay law is about Orban’s next election

Marton Dunai, Reuters (June 22, 2021): Orban’s challengers pledge to halt Chinese university, railway project

Edit Inotai, Balkan Insight (June 21, 2021): Hungary’s opposition embarks on difficult journey to bridge urban-rural divide

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.

DW (June 20, 2021): Austria: Herbert Kickl elected to lead far-right Freedom Party: Austria’s far-right Freedom Party has found a new leader in Herbert Kickl, despite some opposition to his blunt approach with voters.

Sweden Parliamentary Elections: September 11, 2022

Sweden’s next elections are not due until September 2022, but in June 2021, the left-leaning coalition led by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven fell in a no-confidence vote. Now, Sweden will either have a caretaker government or will head to snap elections.

The Local Sweden (June 23, 2021): How would a snap election work in Sweden?

AP (June 21, 2021): Sweden’s Prime Minister Has Lost A Confidence Vote In Parliament

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

AFP (June 21, 2021): Leader of Finland’s populists to quit in August

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

AP (June 22, 2021): Dutch talks on forming coalition government still deadlocked

Julia Kelzer, Global Risk Insights (June 22, 2021): The Netherlands Struggles to Find Political Stability as Polarisation Increases

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

France Regional Runoffs: June 27, 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, 2021North 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 10 and 24, 2022

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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