Elections, party politics and government across Europe

A crisis made in Italy

The decision of Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, to veto Giuseppe Conte’s choice of finance minister prompted much discussion about the legitimacy of Mattarella’s actions and the impact Italy’s membership of the Eurozone has on the country’s democracy. Michael Wilkinson argues that however much the pressure on Italy appeared to stem from global financial markets or European constitutional conventions, it […]

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    Bulgarians in London: A community of strength, but one hidden in the shadows

Bulgarians in London: A community of strength, but one hidden in the shadows

Many Bulgarians have moved to the UK since the early-2000s, but as Maria Koinova notes, little research has been conducted on their views on life in Britain. Drawing on a new survey of Bulgarians in London, she writes that the Bulgarian community is notably different from the way it has been portrayed in the British media. It has many […]

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    What are the prospects for Poland’s rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz?

What are the prospects for Poland’s rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz?

Although Polish rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz’s political grouping is an unstable construct, lacking organisational and programmatic coherence, it remains the Polish government’s only potential coalition partner and could still emerge as king-maker after the country’s next parliamentary election. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that the key to its survival and future success is still Mr Kukiz’s continued credibility as an ‘anti-system’ […]

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    What Italy’s political crisis told us about populism in Europe

What Italy’s political crisis told us about populism in Europe

The political crisis in Italy that emerged after Italian President Sergio Mattarella vetoed Giuseppe Conte’s choice of finance minister quickly gave way to a compromise. But what did the affair tell us about populist politics in Italy and Europe? Ben Margulies writes that while Mattarella got his way in the end, his actions risked bringing about the very thing […]

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    Backbench rebels are likely to give Merkel a headache over Europe

Backbench rebels are likely to give Merkel a headache over Europe

Greece is due to exit its current bailout programme in August and key decisions on debt relief for the country are on the political agenda in Brussels. Caroline Bhattacharya explains that with a reduced majority and potential dissent from members of her own party over the issue, Angela Merkel could face a challenging time in the Bundestag over the […]

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What can we expect from Italy’s new government?

The new Five Star Movement/Lega government in Italy is one of the most ideologically diverse governing coalitions in the country’s history. Mattia Guidi writes that there is great uncertainty over whether the government can keep its many promises to the Italian electorate, and even greater uncertainty over whether the two parties will be able to continue to work together […]

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Italy’s crisis and the question of democracy

The last seven days in Italy have proven that a week is indeed a long time in politics: after a political crisis emerged following Italian president Sergio Mattarella’s decision to veto the Five Star Movement and the League’s choice of finance minister, a government led by Giuseppe Conte was eventually sworn in on 1 June. Andrea Lorenzo Capussela argues […]

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Rajoy loses power in Spain: What happens now?

Following a vote of no confidence in Mariano Rajoy, Pedro Sánchez is the new Prime Minister of Spain. Ben Margulies explains how Rajoy’s demise came about and outlines what might happen next with the country potentially heading for new elections.

Politics, unlike theatre, rarely gets pacing right. Either one spends months waiting for some seemingly inevitable drama, or all hell […]

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    Macri and Macron: Why the Argentine and French presidents share more than their surnames

Macri and Macron: Why the Argentine and French presidents share more than their surnames

When Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency a little over a year ago, he was viewed by many of his supporters as an ‘antidote to populism’ and as someone capable of implementing an ambitious reform programme. Sam Maynard and Ilona Lahdelma compare Macron’s period in office with another President who came to power in similar circumstances: Mauricio Macri, the President […]

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    Italy’s crisis: Wouldn’t it be simpler if the government simply dissolved the people and elected another?

Italy’s crisis: Wouldn’t it be simpler if the government simply dissolved the people and elected another?

The decision of Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, to veto the appointment of Paolo Savona as Italian finance minister has sent the country into a political crisis. Bob Hancké argues that although Mattarella was legally within his rights to do what he did, his actions not only raise questions about democratic legitimacy, but are almost certainly not in Italy’s long-term […]

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    Understanding the transformed moral landscape in Ireland following the ‘repeal the 8th’ referendum

Understanding the transformed moral landscape in Ireland following the ‘repeal the 8th’ referendum

Voters in Ireland have backed a proposal to amend the Irish constitution to allow for a liberalisation of the country’s abortion laws. But the referendum result also said a great deal about the social attitudes of Irish citizens more broadly. Lisa Smyth traces the history of abortion law in Ireland, writing that the moral certainties that underpinned the Eighth […]

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    Would government prove a poisoned chalice for the Five Star Movement?

Would government prove a poisoned chalice for the Five Star Movement?

The formation of a new Five Star Movement/Lega government in Italy is in doubt after Italian President Sergio Mattarella refused to approve of Giuseppe Conte’s proposed economy minister, Paolo Savona. Ben Margulies writes that if the Five Star Movement does enter government, the main risk for the party will come from the Italian economy. Should external factors, such as EU constraints or the bond markets, force […]

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    Ireland’s referendum illustrated a major shift in Irish society and the country’s social attitudes

Ireland’s referendum illustrated a major shift in Irish society and the country’s social attitudes

Irish voters have backed a proposal to amend the current constitutional provision which places a ban on abortion in most circumstances. Anthony Costello assesses what the result means for both the country’s abortion laws and Irish society, noting that the will of the people has spoken and there is now a clear mandate for progressive change.

On 25 May, the […]

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    Ireland votes to repeal the 8th: Will Northern Ireland be next to liberalise its abortion laws?

Ireland votes to repeal the 8th: Will Northern Ireland be next to liberalise its abortion laws?

Ireland’s abortion referendum on 25 May resulted in a victory for the ‘Yes’ side campaigning to reform the country’s strict abortion laws by repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution. For Jennifer Thomson, the result underlines a dramatic transformation that has taken place in Irish society over recent decades, however it also shines a light on Northern Ireland, […]

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Can there be a democratic theory for the real world?

Is there a problem with democracy? Phil Parvin argues that the time has come to engage with the wealth of data that has emerged about citizens, their motivations, and their abilities, and take a clear-headed view about what democratic states can expect of them. A more representative politics, as opposed to a more participatory one, would better meet the […]

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    The Five Star Movement and the rise of ‘techno-populist’ parties

The Five Star Movement and the rise of ‘techno-populist’ parties

The Five Star Movement and Lega’s nomination of Italian law professor Giuseppe Conte as the next Prime Minister of Italy presents a puzzle: why would an apparently ‘populist’ government nominate a Prime Minister who fits the mould of a technocrat? Chris Bickerton writes that given the Five Star Movement’s history, we should not be surprised at the nomination of […]

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Three challenges in contemporary populism research

Populism has become one of the most hotly debated topics in European politics, but how should academics seek to study it? Yannis Stavrakakis identifies three key challenges in contemporary populism research: the need for critical reflexivity, the use of minimal definitions, and the difficulty in capturing and accounting for different types or degrees of populism.

Today populism seems to be […]

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    Book Review: Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France by Jim Wolfreys

Book Review: Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France by Jim Wolfreys

In Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France, Jim Wolfreys describes the emergence of a ‘respectable racism’ against Muslims in France since the 1980s, fuelled by the ‘War on Terror’ and rooted in the nation’s colonial history. Praising the book’s candid and incisive writing, Elsa Stéphan welcomes this as a commendably comprehensive and accessible account on Islamophobia in contemporary France. 
Republic of Islamophobia: The […]

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    Italy’s post-electoral intrigues shed light on the country’s political culture

Italy’s post-electoral intrigues shed light on the country’s political culture

Following difficult negotiations in the aftermath of the Italian election on 4 March, Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, has stated the country has two options: a neutral ‘technical’ government, or new elections. Roland Benedikter writes that the situation points toward prolonged instability and more short-term arrangements rather than the stable reform alliance which the country urgently needs.

Credit: Davide Oliva (CC […]

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    History will judge ETA as a failed terrorist group, but there are lessons to be learned

History will judge ETA as a failed terrorist group, but there are lessons to be learned

The Basque separatist group ETA has formally announced it is disbanding, following a decades-long campaign that claimed the lives of over 800 people. George Kassimeris writes that ETA’s conception of the political environment was always one of resistance and violence. But while history will judge ETA as a failed terrorist group, the lesson for the rest of Europe is […]

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