Europe This Week: February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

A weekly review 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 street in Porto, Portugal. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Lacobrigo (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Germany Saarland State Elections: March 27, 2022, followed by Schleswig-Holstein State Elections: May 8, 2022, North Rhine-Westphalia State Elections: May 15, 2022, and Lower Saxony State Elections: October 8, 2022

Germany holds several sets of state elections in 2022, following the “Superwahljahr” (Super Election Year) of 2021, which saw the defeat of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and a new “traffic light coalition” government consisting of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greens.

Holger Hansen, Reuters (January 30, 2022): German Greens elect 28-year-old leader to build on youth vote

Guy Chazan, Financial Times (January 28, 2022): Leader of Germany’s AfD quits over party’s drift to radical right

Hungary Parliamentary Elections: April 3, 2022

Hungary is holding parliamentary elections on April 3, 2022. Prime Minster Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party has become increasingly authoritarian, to the concern of many both in Hungary and in the international community. Moreover, Orbán’s increasingly close ties to Russia and China have become a concern for many Hungarian voters.

A number of opposition parties recently held a primary to field a single candidate for prime minister. Ultimately, conservative Péter Márki-Zay, mayor of the southern city of Hódmezővásárhely, won the second round, defeating leftist Klára Dobrev, after liberal Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony – who had been seen as a favorite – dropped out and endorsed Márki-Zay.

Anita Komuves, Reuters (January 23, 2022): Hungary’s opposition fights Orban’s media strength one letterbox at a time

Zoltan Simon, Bloomberg (January 31, 2022): Hungarian Teachers Strike in Pre-Election Headache for Orban

Serbia Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: April 3, 2022

Serbia holds early presidential and legislative elections on April 3, following a constitutional referendum on January 16 in which voters approved constitutional changes related to the judiciary – a move some hope will bring Serbia closer to EU membership. The last elections, snap parliamentary elections in June 2020, took place in a climate of mistrust. Many opposition parties boycotted, and therefore, President Alexander Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) dominated. Vucic announced that the new parliament would not serve a full term, and that the Serbia would hold both presidential and parliamentary elections by April 2022.

Serbia has tried to balance movement toward joining the European Union with maintaining good relations with Russia. Meanwhile, China has stepped up its presence.

Jovana Gec, AP (February 2, 2022): Serbian opposition parties unite against Vucic’s populists

European Western Balkans (January 31, 2022): Final visit of the EP facilitators to Serbia before elections: Some progress, delays in implementation of measures

Svetla Miteva, Euractiv (January 28, 2022): Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic accused of ‘bribing voters’

Reuters (January 27, 2022): Serbia’s green activists rally to demand moratorium on lithium mining

France Presidential Election: April 10 and 24, 2022, followed by Legislative Elections: June 12 and 19, 2022

France holds presidential and legislative elections in spring 2022. These follow the June 2021 regional elections, in which the far-right failed to make gains that had been predicted by pre-election polls. The regional elections put the center-right Republicans in a stronger position to challenge President Emmanuel Macron.

While many had predicted a rematch between Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen, whom Macron defeated in 2017, it is becoming increasingly unclear who will make it to the second round (if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote on April 10, the top two face off in a runoff on April 24). The rise of far-right media personality Éric Zemmour, who is often compared to Donald Trump, could take support away from Le Pen.

As for the traditionally-dominant parties, the center-right Republicans have selected Valérie Pécresse, president of the regional council of Île-de-France. The Socialists chose Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo as their candidate. Pécresse has polled in second and could very realistically beat both of the far-right candidates and make it to the runoff.

Françoise Boucek, LSE’s EUROPP blog (February 2, 2022): Why it’s still all to play for in the French presidential election

AFP (February 1, 2022): Macron said to be waiting for crises to ease before declaring candidacy

Euronews with AP (January 30, 2022): Left-wing candidates dismiss united front ahead of French presidential elections

AFP (January 30, 2022): Former justice minister Christiane Taubira wins the ‘people’s primary’ held by the French left

Martin Arnold and Valentina Romel, Financial Times (January 28, 2022): French economy boosts Macron with fastest growth in 52 years

Bosnia and Herzegovina General Elections: October 2, 2022

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) holds general elections on October 2, 2022. The 2020 local elections, which took place in the context of gridlock and ethno-nationalism, delivered a blow to the three main ethnic-based political parties, with opposition forces winning in Sarajevo and other key cities. However, BiH faces a number of problems, including poor economic prospects, incompetent governance, and bitter political fights. 

BiH consists of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, populated mostly by Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats, and the Republika Srpska, with mostly Orthodox Serbs. Recently, tensions have flared as Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has used increasingly inflammatory rhetoric and taken actions that some analysts see as moving toward secession. According to Reuters, “The Balkan country is going through its worst political crisis since the end of a war in the 1990s after Bosnian Serbs blocked decision-making in national institutions and launched a process to withdraw from the state armed forces, tax system and judiciary.”

Both Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats have threatened to boycott the upcoming elections.

Zeljko Trkanjec, Euractiv (January 31, 2022): Elections in BiH must go on, regardless of reform

International Crisis Group (January 27, 2022): Bosnia and Herzegovina: Deterring Disintegration

Reuters (January 26, 2022): Bosnia risks entering legal and institutional vacuum -corruption watchdog

Montenegro Parliamentary Elections: By August 2024

Montenegro is due to hold parliamentary elections by August 2024, but snap polls are possible. The last elections, the fifth since independence in 2006, took place in August 2020. Although the pro-Western Democratic Party of Socialists, which has been in power for 30 years, won the most seats, they did not win a majority, and a coalition of opposition parties united to form a government. Zdravko Krivokapic from For the Future of Montenegro became the next prime minister. The political base of the Krivokapic’s coalition is generally pro-Moscow.

The government currently faces a no-confidence motion, which could lead to early elections in May if the motion succeeds.

Aleksander Brezar, Euronews (February 2, 2022): Montenegro lurches back into political crisis as former allies try to oust PM

Orlando Crowcroft and AP, Euronews (January 2, 2022): Montenegro’s prime minister warns of government collapse ahead of vote

Samir Kajosevic, Balkan Insight (January 31, 2022): Move to Minority Government in Montenegro May Only Buy Time

Past Europe Elections

Portugal Snap Parliamentary Elections: January 30, 2022

Portugal held snap elections on January 30, two years early, following the government’s defeat in a crucial budget vote. The incumbent Socialist Party won, surprising observers with an outright majority, an upgrade from its previous minority government.

The two main parties, center-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) and leftist Socialist s, regularly alternate in power. In the 2015 parliamentary elections, PSD won a plurality of seats and briefly formed a minority government, which collapsed after less than two months. PS leader Antonio Costa formed a left-wing coalition and became prime minister. In the 2019 elections, the Socialists won again, but did not get a majority. Subsequently, Costa formed a minority government.

AFP (January 30, 2022): Portugal’s ruling Socialists win re-election with outright majority

Barry Hatton, AP (January 28, 2022): Old grievances haunt Portugal’s vote: low pay, stagnation

Italy Indirect Presidential Election: Began January 24, 2022

Italy’s parliament began the process of choosing a president on January 24, and after six days and eight rounds of voting, lawmakers re-elected incumbent Sergio Mattarella. Although Italy’s president does not have much formal executive power, Mattarella has become increasingly powerful as a mediator in Italy’s recent series of political crises. Although he did not seek another term, he agreed to continue serving in order to preserve political stability.

Current prime minister Mario Draghi had indicated interest in the role, which threatened to trigger snap elections if the current broad coalition of right and left-wing parties does not hold together. Italy is currently not due for parliamentary elections until 2023. Some fear another bout of instability if Draghi leaves his current role – Draghi’s accession to the role of prime minister ended the last round of political chaos.

In addition, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi had been campaigning from the role, but withdrew before voting started.

General elections are due by June 2023.

Gavin Jones, Angelo Amante and Giuseppe Fonte, Reuters (February 2, 2022): “Anyone but Draghi” – how an Italian presidential bid fell flat

Angela Guiffrida, The Guardian (February 1, 2022): Italian League’s Matteo Salvini calls for new alliance based on US Republicans

Holly Ellyatt, CNBC (January 31, 2022): Italy’s 80 year-old president really wanted to retire. He’s just been re-elected amid political stalemate

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Spain, Snap Regional Elections in Castile and León: February 13, 2022

Austria, Local Elections in Tyrol: February 27, 2022

Netherlands Local Elections: March 16, 2022

Germany, Saarland State Elections: March 27, 2022

Hungary Parliamentary Elections: April 3, 2022

Serbia Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, plus Belgrade City Assembly Elections: April 3, 2022

France Presidential Election: April 10 and 24, 2022

Slovenia Parliamentary Elections: April 24, 2022

United Kingdom Local Elections, including Northern Ireland Assembly: May 5, 2022

Germany, Schleswig-Holstein State Elections: May 8, 2022

Iceland Local Elections: May 14, 2022

Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia State Elections: May 15, 2022

France Legislative Elections: June 12 and 19, 2022

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

Austria Presidential Election: Fall 2022 (due)

Sweden Parliamentary and Local Elections: September 11, 2022

Latvia Parliamentary Elections: October 1, 2022

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2, 2022

Germany, Lower Saxony State Elections: October 9, 2022

Czech Republic Local and Partial Senate Election: October 2022

Spain, Andalusia Regional Elections: Between June and October 2022 (due)

Slovenia Presidential and Local Elections: October/November 2022 (due)

Slovakia Local Elections: November 2022 (due)

Czech Republic Presidential Election: By January 2023

Austria, Lower Austria State Elections: January 2023 (due)

Cyprus Presidential Election: February 2023 (due)

Monaco Parliamentary Elections: February 2023 (due)

Austria, Tyrol State Elections: February 2023 (due)

Estonia General Elections: By March 5, 2023

Netherlands Provincial Council and Water Authority Elections: March 2023 (due)

Austria, Carinthia State Elections: March 2023 (due)

Finland Parliamentary Elections: By April 2023

Montenegro Presidential Election: April 2023 (due)

Austria, Salzburg State Elections: April 2023 (due)

Spain Local Elections and Various Regional Elections: May 28, 2023

Germany, Bremen State Elections: May 2023 (due)

Greece Local Elections: May 2023 (due)

Latvia Indirect Presidential Election: May 2023 (due)

Italy General Elections: By June 1, 2023

Denmark General Elections: By June 4, 2023

Greece Parliamentary Elections: By August 6, 2023

Norway Local Elections: September 2023

Switzerland Federal Parliamentary Elections: October 2023 (due)

Luxembourg General Elections: October 2023

Bulgaria Local Elections: October 2023

Germany, Hesse and Bavaria State Elections: October 2023 (due)

Finland, Åland Elections: By October 2023

Poland Parliamentary and Local Elections: By November 11, 2023

Spain General Elections: By December 10, 2023 (snap elections possible

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