Elections, party politics and government across Europe

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    How will Italy’s election affect its relationship with the EU?

How will Italy’s election affect its relationship with the EU?

Ahead of the Italian elections on 4 March, opinion polls suggest an increasingly fragmented political scenario, with a hung parliament and likely difficulties in having a parliamentary majority in support of a new government. But what will the vote mean for Italy’s relations with the EU? Lorenzo Codogno discusses the three most important themes in the Italy-EU relationship.

Credit: Giorgio Montersino […]

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    When Europe is fashionable: The strange paradox of the Italian elections

When Europe is fashionable: The strange paradox of the Italian elections

The upcoming Italian election will be closely watched in other EU states. Giulia Pastorella writes that while on the face of it most parties running in the election are markedly pro-European, there is an undercurrent of Euroscepticism in the campaign which should prompt concern for those in favour of further European integration.

The European Council of Foreign Relations ranked Italy […]

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How to tackle populism: Macron vs Kurz

This time last year, things did not look pretty for the EU, writes Michael Cottakis. Marine Le Pen topped the polls in France spreading fears over Frexit, Geert Wilders had crept clear of his challengers in the Netherlands, and EU officials glanced worriedly at an Austria dealing with its own far-right challenge. In all three cases, the populist challenge fell […]

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    The beginning of the end for political stability? How the new generation of CDU and SPD members are seeking to reshape German politics

The beginning of the end for political stability? How the new generation of CDU and SPD members are seeking to reshape German politics

An agreement has been reached on the creation of a new grand coalition in Germany, but the deal could potentially be rejected by members of the German Social Democrats (SPD), with results of the membership vote due on 4 March. Julian Göpffarth argues that even if the coalition deal is approved and Angela Merkel remains chancellor, the era of […]

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    The troubling legal and political uncertainty facing Catalonia

The troubling legal and political uncertainty facing Catalonia

There is still no end in sight to the political uncertainty in Catalonia. As Javier García Oliva writes, the issue has raised questions over processes of constitutional reform in Spain. He highlights that constitutional systems tend to make amendments difficult precisely to avoid short-term political winds driving the state in directions which may be damaging to minority interests. But […]

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Targeted propaganda and the Italian election campaign

During the Brexit Referendum and subsequent elections in the US, Britain, France, Germany and Austria, questions have been raised about the role of social media, and in particular foreign involvement, misinformation, and lack of transparency. As Italy prepares for elections on 4 March, Damian Tambini examines the background and asks what academic and civil society election observers should be […]

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Why the media helps make Hungarian elections so predictable

Hungary will hold parliamentary elections on 8 April, with polls suggesting Fidesz, led by incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, is in a strong position to hold on to power. Andrea Fumarola argues that a sharp decline in press freedom over the last decade has helped Orbán to consolidate his political position, but that the dominance of Fidesz has come […]

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    What Sauli Niinistö’s re-election means for Finnish foreign policy

What Sauli Niinistö’s re-election means for Finnish foreign policy

Sauli Niinistö secured his re-election as Finland’s President with a comfortable first-round victory on 28 January. Matti Pesu assesses what the result means for the country, particularly in the area of foreign policy, where the President has significant constitutional powers.

Finland’s soil is not prone to landslides. However, in politics, Finland has just witnessed a historic landslide victory, which secured […]

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    The political significance of Poland’s government reshuffle

The political significance of Poland’s government reshuffle

A sweeping reshuffle by Poland’s new prime minister has changed the shape and direction of its government, with a greater emphasis being placed on economic modernisation, political stabilisation and improving EU relations. But as Aleks Szczerbiak writes, this pivot to the technocratic centre risks alienating the ruling party’s core electorate, and is more about packaging the government’s reforms attractively than abandoning […]

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    Continuity in Finland as Sauli Niinistö is re-elected as President

Continuity in Finland as Sauli Niinistö is re-elected as President

On 28 January, Sauli Niinistö was re-elected as Finland’s President in the first round of voting. Tapio Raunio explains that with voters clearly approving of Niinistö’s track record in office, the other mainstream candidates found it extremely difficult to challenge him. The result means continuity for Finnish politics: Niinistö is not in favour of NATO membership, but supports the […]

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    The stakes are high for the Italian election, but Italy is not about to leave the euro

The stakes are high for the Italian election, but Italy is not about to leave the euro

Could Italy really leave the euro following the country’s general election in March? Iacopo Mugnai argues that concern in other EU states that the next Italian government could take Italy out of the euro is largely unfounded. However, the election will still be crucial for determining the future trajectory of the Italian economy, and if key problems fail to […]

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Three lessons from the Czech presidential election

Miloš Zeman won a second term as Czech President on 27 January, narrowly defeating opposition candidate Jiří Drahoš. Jan Rovny writes that the country is now sharply divided between two political blocs that cut across old left-right allegiances, with identity politics playing an increasingly important role in shaping support. The presidential election also underlined that Czech politics is likely […]

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Immigration and the Czech presidential election

A second round run-off will be held in the Czech presidential election on 26-27 January, with incumbent president Miloš Zeman facing a challenge from former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences Jiří Drahoš. Lenka Dražanová highlights the role that immigration has played in the campaign, despite the Czech Republic experiencing relatively low levels of immigration in comparison to […]

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Far right politics in Germany: From fascism to populism?

The rise of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) was one of the major stories of the 2017 German elections. As Tomáš Nociar and Jan Philipp Thomeczek write, there has been a tendency among some commentators to draw parallels between the AfD and extremist or fascist parties from Germany’s past. They argue that this is both unhelpful and inaccurate, and […]

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The epic political elegance of Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to the UK was closely followed by the British press, with his comments on Brexit and Donald Trump generating a large number of headlines. George Kassimeris writes that Macron’s visit underlined his credentials as a transformative political leader. And with Angela Merkel’s authority damaged by the results of last year’s German federal election, […]

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    Silvio is back: Understanding Berlusconi’s latest revival ahead of the Italian general election

Silvio is back: Understanding Berlusconi’s latest revival ahead of the Italian general election

Despite currently being banned from holding office, Silvio Berlusconi is well placed to have a key role in the Italian general election in March. Fabio Bordignon outlines the factors behind his latest comeback, and how his Forza Italia party could play a central part in the formation of the next Italian government.

In the past when we Italian scholars of […]

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    Why has no other European country adopted the Research Excellence Framework?

Why has no other European country adopted the Research Excellence Framework?

Most European countries have followed the UK’s lead in developing performance-based research funding systems (PRFS) for their universities. However, what these countries have not done is adopt the same system, the Research Excellence Framework being its most recent iteration. Instead, many use indicators of institutional performance for funding decisions rather than panel evaluation and peer review. Gunnar Sivertsen has examined systems […]

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    GroKo for Germany? How the prospect of a new grand coalition is dividing the country and the SPD

GroKo for Germany? How the prospect of a new grand coalition is dividing the country and the SPD

On 21 January, members of the German Social Democrats (SPD) will vote on whether to move to the next stage of talks over the formation of a grand coalition between the SPD and Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU. Julian Göpffarth writes that much like the country as a whole, the SPD faces a choice between pragmatic politics and a rebellious yearning […]

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    Why immigration has the potential to upend the Italian election

Why immigration has the potential to upend the Italian election

The failure of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders to cause an upset in 2017 has prompted some observers to argue that Europe’s ‘populist right’ is now in retreat. But as James Dennison, Andrew Geddes and Matthew Goodwin highlight, the apparent fall in support for anti-immigration populism elsewhere in Europe has not been seen in Italy ahead of the […]

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We have seen the Alt-Right, but what about the Alt-Left?

Much has been written about the rise of the ‘Alt-Right’ and its role in American and European politics. However, the use of the term ‘Alt-Left’ remains far more contested. Steve Fuller writes that while the term is often used in a pejorative sense, there is the potential for left-wing actors to reclaim the Alt-Left label as part of a […]

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