Elections, party politics and government across Europe

When are Green parties successful?

Green parties have experienced unprecedented levels of success in several advanced democracies this year; however, in a great many others they remain only minor footnotes to national electoral contests. Zack P. Grant argues that variation in Green party support is largely a function of good economic times, the presence of tangible environmental disputes, and mainstream parties actively attempting to emulate the positions of […]

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    Is the rule of law under threat? Lessons from Spain, the UK and Brazil

Is the rule of law under threat? Lessons from Spain, the UK and Brazil

The rule of law is generally taken as a fundamental component of a healthy democracy. But as Javier García Oliva and Rafael Valim write, several countries across the world have recently seen the role of their judiciary compromised or called into question. They consider three illustrative examples: Spain and Catalonia, the UK’s parliamentary privilege, and corruption trials in Brazil.

Brazilian President-elect […]

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Book Review: New Female Tribes by Rachel Pashley

In New Female Tribes: Shattering Female Stereotypes and Redefining Women Today, Rachel Pashley presents the results of a survey of over 8,000 women in nineteen different countries, navigating the reader through a series of snapshots that show how women see themselves around the globe today. While at times engaging in broad brush-strokes in its depiction of four female ‘tribes’, this is a hopeful, […]

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    A high risk, high reward gamble: What are the benefits of a Kosovo-Serbia land-swap?

A high risk, high reward gamble: What are the benefits of a Kosovo-Serbia land-swap?

The prospect of Kosovo and Serbia exchanging territories received significant attention earlier this year. Beáta Huszka argues that while much of the reaction to the proposal was negative, a well-managed exchange based on domestic consensus and the mitigation of regional risks could have a stabilising effect for both countries. However, securing these conditions would be highly difficult in practice, […]

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    A decisive political battle: What the statute of limitations tells us about Italy’s ruling coalition

A decisive political battle: What the statute of limitations tells us about Italy’s ruling coalition

A disagreement over legal time-limits threatened to bring down Italy’s government until a deal was reached on 8 November. Andrea Lorenzo Capussela explains why this seemingly minor issue created tension between the parties in the ruling coalition, and why the underlying debate matters more for the country’s future than recent discussions over Italy’s budget deficit.

On 8 November, Italy’s governing coalition […]

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    The fight for succession – the CDU leadership battle heats up

The fight for succession – the CDU leadership battle heats up

The decision by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to step down from the party leadership of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party has triggered the start of an intense succession battle. As John Ryan explains, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Jens Spahn, and Friedrich Merz have emerged as three key front runners, with the result set to determine whether the party will continue […]

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    What can Carl Jung tell us about the appeal of populist politics?

What can Carl Jung tell us about the appeal of populist politics?

Economic inequality, globalisation and the failures of mainstream politicians have all been put forward as potential factors facilitating the rise of populist politics. But alongside this political and economic context, is there also a psychological context that can help explain the success of populist politicians? John Dreijmanis writes on what the work of Carl Jung can tell us about […]

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    Explaining the appeal of populist nationalism in Central Europe

Explaining the appeal of populist nationalism in Central Europe

Central Europe is often seen as particularly fertile ground for populist nationalism given the success of populist parties in countries like Austria and Hungary, but what explains the appeal of this brand of politics for voters in the region? Paul Schmidt writes that there are decreasing levels of trust in European cross-border solutions to the region’s problems, however he […]

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Who really won Poland’s local elections?

Poland held local elections on 21 October, followed by a second round of voting on 4 November. The elections were billed as a key test for the country’s Law and Justice government. As Aleks Szczerbiak explains, the liberal-centrist opposition mobilised its core supporters in urban areas, winning high profile mayoral races, but Law and Justice won the more politically […]

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    The SPD may deal the final blow to Angela Merkel’s chancellorship

The SPD may deal the final blow to Angela Merkel’s chancellorship

In the state elections held in Hesse on 28 October, Angela Merkel’s CDU and her grand coalition partner in the German government – the SPD – suffered heavy losses. Merkel later announced that she would not stand for party leader at the CDU conference in December and would not put herself forward as a candidate for chancellor at Germany’s […]

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    The liberal conception of ‘freedom’ is incapable of addressing the problems of contemporary capitalism

The liberal conception of ‘freedom’ is incapable of addressing the problems of contemporary capitalism

The rise of populism and ‘illiberal democracies’ are often viewed as a reaction to the failure of liberal capitalism to meet the needs of citizens. For Andrea Lorenzo Capussela, the liberal conception of freedom as ‘non-interference’ may lie at the heart of this equation. He suggests that a republican notion of freedom as ‘non-domination’ might be more useful in […]

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    Nativists, racists and other nasty people? Understanding who populists are and what they really want

Nativists, racists and other nasty people? Understanding who populists are and what they really want

The rise of national populism continues to be a core theme in European politics, but have mainstream politicians and commentators still failed to grasp who populists are and what they want? Drawing on a new book, co-authored with Matthew Goodwin, Roger Eatwell argues that viewing populist movements as expressions of nativism or racism is highly problematic. There needs to […]

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    Opening up Pandora’s box? How centre-right parties can outperform the radical right on immigration

Opening up Pandora’s box? How centre-right parties can outperform the radical right on immigration

It is often assumed that populist radical-right parties have dominated European politics since the migration crisis and laid claim to the immigration issue. James F. Downes, Matthew Loveless and Andrew Lam argue that this narrative is far too simplistic and that incumbent centre-right parties have responded to the electoral threat of the radical right by highlighting their own anti-immigration positions. This strategy has helped […]

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How liberal democracy can be saved

Across the world, liberal democracy is rumoured to be under threat from the rise of autocratic regimes and populist politics. But if this is the case, how can it be saved? Takis S. Pappas argues that the root cause of the current crisis is today’s democratic leaders lack assertiveness in defending the principles that underpin liberal democracy: to reaffirm […]

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    Down but not out: The CSU’s faltering performance in the Bavarian state elections

Down but not out: The CSU’s faltering performance in the Bavarian state elections

The Christian Social Union (CSU) has dominated politics in Bavaria for decades, but the result in the Bavarian state elections on 14 October represented the party’s worst electoral performance since 1954. Ross Campbell writes that in focusing its appeal on immigration, the CSU badly misread the priorities of the Bavarian electorate, but the party is nevertheless capable of rebuilding […]

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    Challenges on the 40th anniversary of the Spanish constitution: Can Spain find a way to accommodate Catalonia?

Challenges on the 40th anniversary of the Spanish constitution: Can Spain find a way to accommodate Catalonia?

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Spanish constitution, which came into effect on 29 December 1978. But as Javier Garcia Oliva explains, the status of Catalonia within Spain represents a major challenge for the current constitutional order. He writes that while Pedro Sanchez has an unenviable task in disentangling all of the issues surrounding Catalonia, the events […]

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The 2018 Latvian elections: New faces, old patterns

Latvia held parliamentary elections on 6 October. As Jānis Ikstens writes, the result was notable for the emergence of new challengers, as well as for the disappointing performance of parties from the ruling coalition. However, given the lack of obvious coalition options, the next government may well be a short-lived one.

In the early hours of 7 October, it became […]

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    Merkel’s grand coalition partners suffer significant losses in the Bavarian election

Merkel’s grand coalition partners suffer significant losses in the Bavarian election

State elections were held in Bavaria on 14 October, with both of Angela Merkel’s partners in the German government – the CSU and SPD – suffering large losses. John Ryan notes that more bad news for Merkel could potentially follow in two weeks’ time at the state elections in Hessen, and that the result underlined the continued fragmentation of […]

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    Elections in Bosnia: More of the same, but there is a silver lining

Elections in Bosnia: More of the same, but there is a silver lining

Elections were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 7 October. Dimitar Bechev explains that Bosnian politics continues to be dominated by two ethnically defined poles, each with external support. The country will probably hold together as a state, but it will be highly dysfunctional and resistant to EU and US initiatives to promote pro-western reforms.

Nothing much changes in Bosnia. A […]

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    What makes a community? The overlooked emancipation of the province in Poland since 1989

What makes a community? The overlooked emancipation of the province in Poland since 1989

The local elections scheduled in Poland for 21 October have been billed as a key test for the country’s ruling Law and Justice government. As Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer explains, a great deal of international attention is currently focused on Law and Justice due to the perception that the government is undermining the country’s rule of law. But while much of […]

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