Elections, party politics and government across Europe

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    What Catalonia’s suspended declaration of independence means for Catalonia and Spain

What Catalonia’s suspended declaration of independence means for Catalonia and Spain

Catalonia’s President, Carles Puigdemont, has proposed a suspended declaration of independence to allow negotiations to be pursued between Catalonia and Spain. Luis Moreno argues that there are several ways to read Puigdemont’s position and it is impossible to make a clear prediction about where Catalonia is now headed. However, the situation opens up an opportunity for those parties that […]

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    The first post-crisis elections in Portugal? The implications of the socialist victory in the 2017 local elections

The first post-crisis elections in Portugal? The implications of the socialist victory in the 2017 local elections

Portugal held local elections on 1 October, which were viewed as a key test for the country’s government, led by António Costa. The results saw Costa’s Socialist Party (PS) receive the largest vote share, while the opposition PSD experienced a loss of support. Marco Lisi assesses what the outcome means for Portugal moving forward, noting that the results illustrated […]

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    Dialogue of the deaf? How Catalonia and Spain can be brought back from the brink

Dialogue of the deaf? How Catalonia and Spain can be brought back from the brink

All eyes remain on Catalonia, with speculation that the Catalan government will soon issue a unilateral declaration of independence. Paul Kennedy writes that a further revision of Catalonia’s regional Statute, or even an amendment of the constitution, could be possible options for enabling both sides to come to a solution. But it remains to be seen whether the Spanish […]

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    The Catalan independence movement is pro-EU – but will the EU accept it?

The Catalan independence movement is pro-EU – but will the EU accept it?

The crisis in Catalonia has thrown into sharp relief the choice facing the European Union, writes Joan Costa i Font. He argues Spain should quickly offer a binding referendum on Catalan independence. If Catalans reject an EU-backed offer, there could be an orderly secession. The Catalan independence movement is not like Brexit: most Catalan parties are keen to be part […]

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    The EU must step in if Spain and Catalonia are to negotiate an end to the crisis

The EU must step in if Spain and Catalonia are to negotiate an end to the crisis

The EU’s institutions and the governments of other EU member states have so far shown reluctance to become involved in the standoff between the Spanish and Catalan governments over Catalan independence. Simon Toubeau argues that if a solution is to be found, the EU will have to take active involvement in facilitating dialogue between the two sides and supporting […]

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    The lesson from Catalonia: We need better principles on who has the right to self-determination and how

The lesson from Catalonia: We need better principles on who has the right to self-determination and how

The standoff between Spain and Catalonia raises fundamental questions about the rights of citizens to self-determination, and how demands for separatism or greater autonomy should be dealt with by a nation state. Michael Keating writes that the Catalan crisis has emerged from a series of missed opportunities, a lack of dialogue between the two sides, and a disappearing centre […]

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    The real SNP ‘peak’ is yet to come – if Conference deals successfully with two key issues

The real SNP ‘peak’ is yet to come – if Conference deals successfully with two key issues

The cleavages created by Labour’s 2017 electoral performance and by Brexit have made the political landscape in Scotland much more challenging for the SNP. But if the party are able to tack successfully into the new political winds, these challenges can be met, writes Sean Swan, making their forthcoming conference on 8-10 October decisive for the party’s future.

Credit: The […]

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    The Catalan crisis and Brexit stem from the same kind of nationalism

The Catalan crisis and Brexit stem from the same kind of nationalism

Many observers now expect the Catalan government to make a declaration of independence following the 1 October referendum, but what implications would there be for Catalonia if it did become independent? Paul De Grauwe argues that there are parallels between the Catalan independence movement and other forms of nationalism in Europe. He suggests that such political movements present a […]

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    Without a drastic change in approach, further conflict appears inevitable in Catalonia

Without a drastic change in approach, further conflict appears inevitable in Catalonia

Following the Catalan independence referendum on 1 October, there are now concerns over what might happen next. Bonnie N. Field and Astrid Barrio write that a potential declaration of independence by the Catalan government could further escalate tensions and prompt an even more severe clash with the Spanish authorities. Yet without a change of leadership in either Madrid or […]

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    Austria election preview: Sebastian Kurz and the rise of the Austrian ‘anti-party’

Austria election preview: Sebastian Kurz and the rise of the Austrian ‘anti-party’

Austria goes to the polls on 15 October, with the centre-right ÖVP, led by 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, currently ahead in the polls. Jakob-Moritz Eberl, Eva Zeglovits and Hubert Sickinger provide a comprehensive preview of the vote, writing that although polling is consistent with the idea the ÖVP and Kurz are the probable election winners, a noteworthy number of voters are […]

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    The Catalan crisis owes much to the actions of self-interested politicians on both sides

The Catalan crisis owes much to the actions of self-interested politicians on both sides

It is far from clear how relations between Catalonia and Spain will develop following the chaotic scenes that accompanied Sunday’s referendum on independence. Mariana S. Mendes argues that the stand-off between Catalonia and Madrid now ranks as the greatest political crisis in Spanish democratic history, and that both sides must take responsibility for negotiating a workable solution.

Part of the […]

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    As the economy takes off in Austria, voters remain torn between economic optimism and anti-immigration politics

As the economy takes off in Austria, voters remain torn between economic optimism and anti-immigration politics

With under two weeks left until the Austrian legislative election on 15 October, the centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP), led by Sebastian Kurz, currently leads the opinion polls. Michael Burri writes that the refugee-centred campaign of Kurz has resonated with the public, allowing the ÖVP to counter the economic message emphasised by incumbent Chancellor Christian Kern. And while an improving economy […]

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    The Catalan crisis is about politics, not constitutional law – and it requires a political solution

The Catalan crisis is about politics, not constitutional law – and it requires a political solution

The Spanish government regards the planned Catalan independence referendum as being unconstitutional, but supporters of the referendum have argued that Catalonia should have a legal right to hold the vote. Domenico Giannino states that although both sides have made legal arguments, it is a situation that can only be solved by political negotiations. The crisis also demonstrates a wider […]

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    Catalonia’s referendum on independence: Clarity in uncertainty

Catalonia’s referendum on independence: Clarity in uncertainty

It is difficult to predict how events in Catalonia will play out following the planned referendum on independence on 1 October. However, as Karlo Basta explains, the events of the last month have nevertheless provided some answers to two key questions: how far the Catalan government was willing to go in pursuit of independence, and how far the Spanish […]

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    The crisis of the SPD: Where now for Germany’s social democrats?

The crisis of the SPD: Where now for Germany’s social democrats?

Germany’s social democrats suffered a disastrous result in the German federal elections, securing only 20.5 per cent of the vote: their worst result in the post-war period. Björn Bremer writes that the party will have a great deal of soul-searching to do over the next four years, and that the left-wing of the party is likely to try and […]

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    German consensus politics must adapt to the adversarial approach of the AfD

German consensus politics must adapt to the adversarial approach of the AfD

Consensus building is often cited as one of the core features of German political culture, but do the results of the 2017 federal elections suggest a different approach is required by the country’s mainstream parties? Ross Campbell highlights that with the growth of the AfD, the political system must now adapt to a new political actor from the right, […]

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Catalonia: A fight within a nation

The Spanish government has stated that the planned referendum on Catalan independence on 1 October will not take place, but it remains to be seen what will occur and how the Catalan government will react. Roger Senserrich argues that the crisis is not first and foremost a standoff between Catalonia and Spain, but rather a conflict that stems from […]

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What will happen to Catalans after 1 October?

With only days to go before the scheduled date for Catalonia’s independence referendum, it remains unclear what will take place and how the Catalan and Spanish governments will react. Victor Lapuente writes that while he is unsure of what will happen to Catalonia, his real concern lies with the fate of ordinary Catalans, with the independence issue likely to […]

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    Where does Florian Philippot’s resignation leave the Front National?

Where does Florian Philippot’s resignation leave the Front National?

Florian Philippot, one of the most influential figures in France’s Front National, resigned from his position on 21 September amid tensions over the future direction of the party. Marta Lorimer explains what led to his decision and assesses where it leaves Marine Le Pen as she attempts to reform the Front National following disappointing results in the French presidential […]

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    German election reaction: Merkel wins, but her fourth term won’t be an easy one

German election reaction: Merkel wins, but her fourth term won’t be an easy one

Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU won the largest share of seats in Germany’s election on 24 September, but the election also saw a substantial rise in support for the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD). Patricia Hogwood writes that although Merkel has done enough to secure her fourth term as chancellor, she has seen her support drop significantly since the last election in 2013 and the […]

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