Europe This Week: April 20, 2022

April 20, 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.

City Hall in Aix-en-Provence, France. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Baptiste Rossi (public domain)

Upcoming Europe Elections

France Presidential Runoff: April 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). Pre-election polls were all over the place, but the runoff will be a rematch between Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen, whom Macron defeated in 2017.

Matthias Matthijs, Council on Foreign Relations (April 20, 2022): Macron vs. Le Pen: What’s at Stake in the French Election?

Lisa Louis, DW (April 15, 2022): French electionspast : What the president’s furniture says about France

Eloise Barry, Time (April 14, 2022): What a Marine Le Pen Victory in France’s Elections Could Mean for the War in Ukraine

Colin Kinniburgh, France24 (April 11, 2022): France’s election seen from the US: Geopolitics, inflation loom large

Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic (April 3, 2022): How Ukraine Is Upending European Politics: The war is dominating elections in Hungary and France.

Slovenia Parliamentary 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.

Victor Jack, Politico (April 20, 2022): Slovenia saw sharpest democratic decline in Eastern Europe, Central Asia in 2021, report says

Jan Bratanic, Bloomberg (April 19, 2022): Slovenia’s Jansa Set for Potential Defeat in Nail-Biter Vote

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.

Gabriel Gavin, The Spectator (April 19, 2022): The Northern Ireland elections could break the Union

Irish Times (April 19, 2022): The Irish Times view on Northern Ireland Assembly elections: Beyond the orange v green

Freya McClements, Irish Times (April 16, 2022): Northern Ireland election: This could be the most important in a generation: If the polls are correct, a nationalist could head government in the North for first time

Anna Leach, Lucy Swan and Bryony Szekeres, The Guardian (April 12, 2022): ‘Historical shift for Northern Ireland’: what a Sinn Féin win would mean

RTÉ (April 8, 2022): Poll suggests Sinn Féin on course to be NI’s largest party

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.

European Western Balkans (April 20, 2022): Freedom House: Western Balkan countries remain hybrid regimes, decline for Serbia and BiH

Július Lőrincz, Visegrad Insight (April 13, 2022): The Crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The news that the European military force in Sarajevo, EUFOR Althea, will be receiving reinforcements has been positively received in Bosnia and Herzegovina

European Western Balkans (April 11, 2022): Escobar: Corruption harming Bosnia and Herzegovina more than anything

Zeljko Trkanjec, Euractiv (March 31, 2022): Electoral Commission selects new president, October election definite

Past Europe Elections

Hungary Parliamentary Elections: April 3, 2022

Hungary held 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.

Despite hopes that a broad opposition coalition led by conservative Péter Márki-Zay could defeat Orbán, he won re-election. Observers said the election environment was not entirely fair.

Matteo Mastracci, Balkan Insight (April 6, 2022): Election Hostilities Shake Serbia and Hungary

Kim Lane Scheppele, Washington Post (April 6, 2022): In Hungary, Orban wins again — because he has rigged the system: Here’s how Orban’s Fidesz party won 53 percent of the vote — but 83 percent of the districts.

Lili Bayer, Politico (April 5, 2022): EU launches process to slash Hungary’s funds over rule-of-law breaches: Hungary is the first country to face proceedings under the new power.

Rob Picheta and Balint Bardi, CNN (April 4, 2022): Viktor Orban, Hungary’s authoritarian leader and key Putin ally, calls Zelensky an ‘opponent’ after winning reelection

Lili Bayer, Politico (April 4, 2022): Hungarian election wasn’t a fair fight, observers say: Media bias and murky campaign finance rules favored Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government, according to international experts.

Tony Wesolowsky, RFE/RL (April 3, 2022): OSCE Monitors Hungarian Elections Amid Voter Fraud Fears

Serbia Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: April 3, 2022

Serbia held 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. President Alexander Vucic won re-election.

The previous elections, snap parliamentary elections in June 2020, took place in a climate of mistrust. Many opposition parties boycotted, and therefore, 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.

Florian Bieber, Foreign Policy (April 15, 2022): Aleksandar Vucic’s Pyrrhic Victory

Tefta Kelmendi, European Council on Foreign Relations (April 6, 2022): Past talker: How the EU should respond to the Serbian president’s re-election: The EU needs to convince Serbia’s newly re-elected president that his country must choose between European integration and subservience to Russia

Euractiv (April 5, 2022): International observers deplore conditions in Serbian elections

AFP (April 3, 2022): Serbia’s incumbent President Vucic declares landslide victory

Misha Savic, Bloomberg (April 3, 2022): Serbia’s Vucic Extends Dominance With Presidency, Party Win

AP (April 3, 2022): Serbia holds tense vote that could sway populist government’s ties with Russia

San Marino Captains Regent Election: April 1, 2022

San Marino, one of the world’s smallest countries (it is a micro-state entirely surrounded by Italy) – and the world’s oldest republic – held its most recent semi-annual captain regent election on April 1. These elections take place twice per year (on April 1 and October 1) to elect two heads of state who serve for six month terms. The role is largely ceremonial and does not have executive power.

One of the newly-elected captains regent is Paolo Rondelli, an openly gay former ambassador to the United States.

Eric J. Lyman, The Guardian (April 4, 2022): San Marino appoints world’s first openly gay head of state

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

France Presidential Election: April 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

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here

Share This