Europe This Week: February 9, 2022

February 9, 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.

The Ethnographic Museum in Budapest, Hungary, located in the former building of the Royal Curia, formerly Hungary’s highest court. The county holds key elections in April. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Csörföly D (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

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

Spain’s Castile and León region will hold early elections to the regional legislature on February 13, 2022. The current government is a coalition of the conservative Popular Party and the liberal Citizens Party. The legislature traces its origins to the Cortes of León of 1188, which UNESCO has called the oldest example of a parliamentary system in Europe.

After that, the country holds local and general elections in 2023.

Elsa Garcia de Blas, El País (February 7, 2022 – in Spanish): The rise of Empty Spain brings suspense to the elections in Castilla y León

Netherlands Parliamentary Elections: March 17, 2021

Netherlands holds local elections on March 16, 2022. These follow the March 2021 parliamentary elections in which Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right VVD once again won the most seats. Coalition negotiations continued for nearly six months after the elections. The parties finally announced that they would renew the four-party coalition, and remain in government. More

Senay Boztas, Times of London (February 6, 2022): Dutch political party don Scottish kilts to gain votes: Wijchen Lokaal party in the lowlands declares love for the Highlands and dares people to ask what candidates have under their kilts

Hungary Parliamentary Elections: April 3, 2022

Hungary is holding parliamentary elections on April 3, 2022. These elections will decide the government since Hungary is a parliamentary system. 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.

Lili Bayer, Politico (February 5, 2022): OSCE recommends full-scale electoral monitoring mission in Hungary

Benjamin Novak and Andrew Higgins, New York Times (February 5, 2022): Facing Tough Election, Orban Turns to Putin for Support

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.

Stefano Graziosi and James Jay Carafano, Heritage Foundation (February 4, 2022): Will French Elections Fracture the Transatlantic Community?

Catherine Fieschi, Chatham House February 4, 2022): French elections: Macron seeks an encore

Slovenia General Elections: April 24, 2022

Slovenia will hold general elections on April 24, 2022. 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.

Makar Menshikov, Balkan Insight (February 9, 2022): Slovenia’s Election Result Will Echo Across the EU

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

The United Kingdom holds local elections for some local councils, as well as the Northern Ireland Assembly (although the Northern Ireland elections could take place earlier). The Northern Ireland elections could be a watershed. Polling suggests that unionist parties could lose their majority and the nationalist Sinn Féin could become the biggest party. By far the biggest issue in public debate is Northern Ireland’s trade arrangements following Brexit.

In last year’s local elections, the Conservatives made gains on councils, particularly in England, but Labour’s Sadiq Khan was re-elected mayor of London. Labour also held onto its working majority in the Welsh parliament. In the high-stakes Scottish Parliament elections, the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) won the most seats after campaigning on another independence referendum, but failed to win a majority, making it harder to insist on a new referendum. All of Scotland’s local councils are up for election in 2022. The SNP is currently the biggest party in local government, and it is worth watching whether they make gains this year.

Jorge Valero, Bloomberg (February 10, 2022): Brexit Talks Are Stuck With Little Hope of Progress Before May

David Blevins, Sky News (February 8, 2022): Northern Ireland: Brandon Lewis rules out early elections after first minister’s resignation

Padraic Halpin, Reuters (February 3, 2022): Explainer: What Northern Irish political turmoil means for Brexit deal

Shawn Pogatchink, Politico (February 3, 2022): Northern Ireland first minister quits in Brexit protocol protest: Resignation fuels calls for a snap election.

Montenegro Parliamentary Elections: By August 2024 (early elections likely in May following government collapse)

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 recently fell a no-confidence motion, which could lead to early elections in May.

Valentina Dimitrievska, bne Intellinews (February 7, 2022): Montenegro’s government toppled after weeks of political stalemate

Pedrag Milic, AP (February 4, 2022): Montenegro’s pro-Serbian governing coalition collapses: Montenegro’s conservative pro-Serbian coalition government has collapsed amid internal disputes, after parliament backed a no-confidence motion tabled by a junior coalition partner

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.

AP (February 8, 2022): New Portugal gov’t, preparing for power, shuts out populists

Jon Henley, The Guardian (February 4, 2022): Costa’s win in Portugal continues comeback by Europe’s centre-left

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.

Fitch Ratings (February 3, 2022): Italy Avoids Instability, but Presidential Election Shows Divisions

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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