June 1, 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 market on Rue Mouffetard in Paris, France. Photo credit: Wikimedia/David Monniaux (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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. However, the upcoming legislative elections could create challenges for his agenda if his allies do not win a majority.
David Basso, Euractiv (June 1, 2022): French Left alliance could topple Macron’s presidential majority
Bill Wirtz, The Dispatch (May 31, 2022): Macron’s Next Challenge: He won reelection, but now his party is trying to fending off major competition from far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon in parliamentary elections
Clea Caulcutt, Politico (May 30, 2022): France’s culture wars reignited after Macron appoints ‘woke’ minister
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. The tensions have gone Europe-wide as Croatia’s president has threatened to veto NATO membership for Finland and Sweden unless Bosnia changes its electoral code.
Euractiv (May 27, 2022): US, EU criticise Bosnian Croat obstruction of election funding
Albania Presidential Election (indirect): Ongoing
Albania’s indirect presidential election began on May 16, 2022 and continued until parliament chose General Major Bajram Begaj after failing to choose a compromise candidate. Most of the opposition boycotted the voting.
Albania held parliamentary elections on April 25, 2021 in a tense political climate with several violent incidents. The elections were close, and the incumbent Socialist Party won a third term in office, defeating the main opposition center-right Democratic Party.
After World War II, Albania became an isolationist communist dictatorship, one of the most brutal regimes in the world. However, since communism collapsed in 1990, the country has held competitive elections and several transitions of power between political parties. Albania joined NATO in 2009 and is currently a candidate for EU membership. While Albania has had less engagement with China than other countries in the Western Balkans, Beijing is trying to make inroads. More
Fjori Sinoruka, Balkan Insight (May 30, 2022): Albania Parties Fail to Elect ‘Consensus’ President
United Kingdom Local Elections, including Northern Ireland Assembly: May 5, 2022
The United Kingdom held local elections for some local councils, as well as the Northern Ireland Assembly, on May 5.
Northern Ireland’s nationalist Sinn Féin became the biggest party in the Assembly following these elections. Although its candidates ran on bread and butter issues, the win could accelerate calls for a referendum on Northern Ireland’s status.
In England, the Liberal Democrats were the big winner, and the Conservatives lost several London councils that they had controlled for decades. Nonetheless, there were very few calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign. Johnson subsequently faced a no-confidence motion, which he survived.
Jude Webber, Financial Times (May 30, 2022): DUP again blocks appointment of Northern Ireland assembly speaker
Jonathan McCambridge, Rebecca Black, and Dominic McGrath, Irish Examiner (May 30, 2022): Sinn Féin to ‘keep trying’ to get a Stormont speaker elected
Stuart Lau, Politico (May 29, 2022): Johnson, many Tories would lose seats if UK election were tomorrow, new poll shows
Jude Webber, Financial Times (May 26, 2022): Stormont to be recalled in effort to end Northern Ireland political paralysis: US delegation fails to defuse tensions triggered by dispute over post-Brexit trading relations
Slovenia Parliamentary Elections: April 24, 2022
Slovenia held general elections on April 24, 2022. The incumbent 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.
Marja Novak, Voice of America (May 29, 2022): Hopes for Reset as Slovenia’s New Leader Pledges Media Protections
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.
Euractiv (June 1, 2022): Opposition not present as Vucic sworn in for second term
Exit.al (May 28, 2022): 11 Votes Cost Ethnic Albanians Representation in Serbian Parliament
Bulgaria Parliamentary Elections, Take 3 and Presidential Election: November 14, 2021
Bulgaria held a presidential election on November 14 along with parliamentary elections – the third this year after no one could form a government following the first two. It appears that the third time was a charm, as a new political party called We Continue the Change (whose founders tout their Harvard credentials) formed a broad coalition.
The elections brought major change, ousting former PM Boyko Borissov’s center-right GERB, which had governed for most of the last 12 years. The country also saw the rise of a party called There Is Such a People (ITN), led by TV star Stanislav Trifonov, which came in second in the April elections and first in the July elections. Despite being edged out by We Continue the Change in November, ITN will be part of the new coalition. The other parties in the government will be the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the centrist/center-right Democratic Bulgaria coalition.
Bulgaria is a member of NATO and the European Union (EU); however, it remains the poorest and most corrupt member of the EU. Meanwhile, Russia seeks to influence Bulgaria. Most recently, it cut off gas exports to Bulgaria (and Poland) in retaliation for EU sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Bulgaria now faces the possibility of yet another set of early elections following ITN’s withdrawal from the coalition, sparked by the PM’s plans to lift the veto on North Macedonia joining the EU. More
Reuters (May 27, 2022): Bulgaria sticks to plan to adopt the euro in 2024 amid coalition squabbles
Albania Presidential Election (indirect): Ongoing
France Legislative Elections: June 12 and 19, 2022
Croatia, Early Local Elections in Split: June 26, 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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