Europe This Week: April 27, 2022

April 27, 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 historic center of Bayeux, France. President Emmanuel Macron won the April 24 runoff and will serve a second term. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Anton Bielousov (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Europe Elections

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 for the first time ever. By far the biggest issue in public debate is Northern Ireland’s trade arrangements following Brexit.

Shane Reynolds, RTÉ (April 26, 2022): How Brexit will influence voting in the Northern Ireland election

Jude Webber, Financial Times (April 25, 2022): Cost of living, NHS and economy dominate Northern Ireland election: Deep-rooted divides mean post-election political paralysis is likely, leaving little prospect of effective government

Amanda Ferguson, Reuters (April 25, 2022): Sinn Fein calls on Dublin to plan for constitutional change

Germany 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.

In May, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia go to the polls. Schleswig-Holstein currently has a “Jamaica coalition” government – CDU, FDP, and the Greens. North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, is currently governed by a CDU-FDP coalition.

In March, Saarland held state elections. The incumbent government, a grand coalition of CDU and SPD, fell as SPD won a historic landslide.

Hans von der Burchard, Politico (April 22, 2022): From doves to über-hawks: Ukraine war recasts Germany’s Greens: Governing party takes another step away from pacifist roots

France 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 of the presidential election (by obtaining 500 signatures of elected officials). Pre-election polls were all over the place, but the runoff was a rematch between Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen, whom Macron defeated in 2017. Macron once again won.

Euractiv (April 27, 2022): A hostile parliament to Macron could paralyse French, EU foreign policy

Henry Olsen, Washington Post (April 25, 2022): France chose Emmanuel Macron, but it craves full-fledged populism

DW (April 24, 2022): Emmanuel Macron wins French presidential election — as it happened

France24 (April 24, 2022): As it happened: Voter abstention at 28% in French presidential run-off, up 2.5% from 2017

Freddy Gray, The Spectator (April 24, 2022): How France feels about Macron’s re-election: The real threat to France in 2027 could come from the radical left more than the right

Amanda Morrow, RFI (April 20, 2022): France’s Mélenchon makes run for premiership in ‘third round’ of presidentials

Emile Chabal and Michael C. Behrent, Foreign Policy (April 20, 2022): Why Marine Le Pen Always Loses

James Snell, The New Arab (April 19, 2022): The Macron doctrine: France on the international stage

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. Abazovic has promised early elections in spring 2023.

Samir Kajosevic, Balkan Insight (April 20, 2022): Abazovic Promises Montenegro’s New Govt Will Hold Elections in 2023

Past Europe Elections

Slovenia Parliamentary Elections: April 24, 2022

Slovenia will hold general elections on April 24, 2022. The incumbemt government, a conservative minority coalition headed by populist Janez Janša (which came to power in January 2020 after the center-left minority government of Marjan Šarec collapsed) lost. Political newcomer Robert Golob, who founded the liberal Freedom Movement in January, won on a platform of restoring press freedoms and democratic institutions – Janša had been accused of authoritarian backsliding during his time in office.

Gasper Andrinek, DW (April 26, 2022): What political newcomer Robert Golob’s election win means for Slovenia

AFP (April 25, 2022): Liberal newcomer beats conservative three-time PM in Slovenian elections

Jason Rezaian, Washington Post (April 25, 2022): The biggest win for liberal democracy this week wasn’t France’s election

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.

Marton Dunai, Financial Times (April 24, 2022): Hungary’s economy poses immediate challenge for Orban after election win: Veteran leader navigates rising inflation and fiscal challenges as EU row blocks handover of recovery funds

Nicole Winfield and Justin Spike, AP (April 21, 2022): Hungary’s Orban meets pope with Ukraine war as backdrop

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.

Makar Menshikov, Balkan Insight (April 28, 2022): Pressured by the West Over Russia, Serbia May Look To China

Phoebe Greenwood, The Guardian (April 21, 2022): Serbia ‘sliding towards autocracy’ as president secures second term

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

Cyprus, Cyprus, Northern Cyprus Snap Elections: January 22, 2022

Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey, held snap parliamentary elections on January 22 following the resignation of the government. The nationalist National Unity Party (UBP) won 24 out of 50 seats.

In last year’s presidential election, Ankara-backed nationalist Ersin Tatar of UBP won a narrow, surprise victory. Tatar supports a separate state for Northern Cyprus, while his opponent, Mustafa Akinci, backs full unification with the south. Thus Tatar’s win exacerbated tensions on the island. The elections took place amid widespread protests and a tanking economy.

Cyprus is divided between the mostly Greek-speaking south and the Turkish-speaking north, and both Greece and Turkey play in the country’s politics.

Daily Hurriyet (April 26, 2022): New coalition government in Turkish Cyprus approved

Europe Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

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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