Europe This Week: March 9, 2022

March 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 city center of Amiens, France, birthplace of Emmanuel Macron, who will face 11 challengers in the April presidential election. In the background is Amiens Cathedral, which was built between the years 1220 and 1270. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Jean-Pol Grandimont (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

Malta Parliamentary Elections: March 26, 2022

Malta has scheduled parliamentary elections for March 26, 2022, a few months early (the elections were originally due in June). The current government of center-left the Labour Party is completing its second term, and opinion polls put it in the lead for the upcoming elections.

Editorial Board, The Independent Malta (March 5, 2022): A largely muted election campaign (so far

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.

First up is Saarland, which borders France and has in fact at times been part of France. The current government is a grand coalition of CDU and SPD.

Erik Kirschbaum, Los Angeles Times (March 5, 2022): In Germany, ex-Chancellor Schroeder and others cozy with Putin are ostracized

Philip Oltermann, The Guardian (March 2, 2022): Germany unites behind chancellor’s historic U-turn on arming Ukraine

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.

Claus Leggewie and Ferenc Laczó, New Eastern Europe (March 9, 2022): Reversing Orbán’s strategic mistakes and the ongoing marginalisation of Hungary

Michael O’Shea, Newsweek (March 7, 2022): A Foreigner’s Guide to the Hungarian Elections

Marton Dunai, Financial Times (March 7, 2022): Hungary’s Viktor Orban faces watershed moment on Russia and Ukraine: As elections approach, prime minister is struggling to neutralise a decade of pro-Putin messaging

Borzou Daragahi, The Independent (March 3, 2022): Ukraine crisis upends Hungary’s election race as Orban faces heat over ties with Russia

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.

First up is Saarland, which borders France and has in fact at times been part of France. The current government is a grand coalition of CDU and SPD.

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.

Una Hajdari, Politico (March 7, 2022): Pandering to Putin comes back to bite Serbia’s Vučić: President out of step with Europe as he refuses to impose sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine war.

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.

In total, 12 candidates qualified for the first round ballot (by obtaining 500 signatures of elected officials). 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.

Reuters (March 9, 2022): Far-left Melenchon emerges as third competitor in French election poll

France24 (March 7, 2022): France narrows presidential field to 12 official candidates

Noemie Bisserbe, Wall Street Journal (March 3, 2022): French President Emmanuel Macron Declares Run for Re-Election

Leila Abboud, Financial Times (March 3, 2022): Marine Le Pen’s niece backs far-right rival in French election: Marion Maréchal’s shift to support Eric Zemmour intensifies debate over direction of rightwing politics in France

Reuters (March 3, 2022): France to lift COVID vaccine passport rules on March 14, just before presidential election

Czech Republic Presidential Election: By January 2023

The Czech Republic is due to hold a presidential election by January 2023. These follow parliamentary elections, which took place on October 8-9, 2021. The then-incumbent prime minister, controversial billionaire Andrej Babiš, and populist ANO party lost to an opposition coalition of the center-right and the center-left Pirates. Petr Fiala from the Civic Democratic Party became prime minister. Babiš’s government was friendly toward Russia and China, but the new government appears to be changing course.

The Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy; as such, the prime minister holds most executive power, while the president is the head of state. However, current president Miloš Zeman, an anti-immigrant populist who also favors closer ties to Russia and China, has been accused of overstepping his constitutional role, with Babiš being insufficiently powerful to stop him. Zeman is not eligible to run for a third term. More

Euronews with AP and AFP (March 3, 2022): Andrej Babiš: Czech parliament lifts immunity of former prime minister over fraud

Finland Parliamentary Elections: By April 2023

Finland is due to hold parliamentary elections by April 2023. Following the 2019 parliamentary elections, a left-leaning coalition came into government nationally. At the same time, conservative National Coalition Party has placed first in various sets of local and county elections.

Finnish politics are currently taking place in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland was part of the Russian empire until 1917 (and ruled by Sweden before that), and has been neutral WWII, in which Russia invaded Finland thinking that it could conquer it quickly, only to get bogged down and beaten to a stalemate by Finnish farmers on skis (one of the famous snipers of that war, Simo Häyhä, is currently having a moment as an internet meme as Ukrainians resist Russia). As Russia ramps up its aggression, more and more Finns have expressed a desire to join NATO. More

ERR News (March 7, 2022): Finnish PM: Debate over joining NATO to be thorough, but quick

Colleen Long and Aamer Madhani, AP (March 4, 2022): Finnish leader meets Biden, weighs NATO as war deepens

Anna Wieslander and Christopher Skaluba, Atlantic Council (March 3, 2022): Will Finland and Sweden join NATO now?

Montenegro Parliamentary Elections: By August 2024 (early elections possible)

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 have led to early elections in May. However, Dritan Abazovic, leader of Black on White, subsequently formed a minority government, along with various ethnic minority parties.

Samir Kajosevic, Balkan Insight (March 8, 2022): Pro-Serb Party Breaks Ranks to Back New Montenegrin Govt

Past Europe Elections

North Macedonia Local Elections: October 17, 2021

North Macedonia held local elections on October 17, 2021 which delivered a landslide victory for the conservative/nationalist opposition VMRO-DPMNE and resulted in the resignation of PM Zoran Zaev of the Social Democratic Union (SDSM). These follow parliamentary elections in July 2020 in which SDSM won a second term. North Macedonia’s next general elections are not due until 2024, but the opposition is calling for snap polls in light of the results of the local elections.

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 remain fragmented and fractious.

Željko Trkanjec, Euractiv (March 8, 2022): Opposition Party Leads Polls ahead of North Macedonian Elections

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 (March 7, 2022): Rama’s Socialists Crush Divided Opposition in Albanian By-elections

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Netherlands Local Elections: March 16, 2022

Malta Parliamentary Elections: March 26, 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

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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