Elections, party politics and government across Europe

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    Should the rest of the EU follow Austria in reducing the voting age to 16?

Should the rest of the EU follow Austria in reducing the voting age to 16?

For the last decade, Austria has been the only country in the EU that allows voting at the age of 16 at all political levels. Paul Schmidt assesses whether this could offer a future model for the EU, and the possible lessons that can be learned from the Austrian experience.

With the next elections to the European Parliament around the […]

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fotó: Európai Bizottság / Végel DánielGallery

    Book Review: Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations: Beyond Accession in Central and Eastern Europe edited by Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright and Diane Stone

Book Review: Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations: Beyond Accession in Central and Eastern Europe edited by Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright and Diane Stone

In Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations: Beyond Accession in Central and Eastern Europe, Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright and Diane Stone examine how European Union accession has contributed to institutional and policy change in Central and Eastern Europe and consider whether these diffusions constitute success stories or failures. The collection serves to challenge simplistic binary models, finds Simeon Mitropolitski, showing the often complex nature of policy transfers and diffusion […]

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    Does Merkel’s coalition spat prefigure a change in the German party system?

Does Merkel’s coalition spat prefigure a change in the German party system?

The alliance between Angela Merkel’s CDU and their Bavarian sister party, the CSU, has come under strain over the German government’s immigration policies. Ben Margulies writes that while most of the coverage of the CDU-CSU dispute has focused on what it means for Merkel’s government, it provides some insights into the potential future trajectory of the German party system.

Credit: […]

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    Turkey’s missing swing voters: Understanding the results of the 2018 Turkish elections

Turkey’s missing swing voters: Understanding the results of the 2018 Turkish elections

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan secured victory in legislative and presidential elections on 24 June. The vote ensured that Erdogan can now govern the country using new executive powers which were approved in a referendum in 2017. Sevinç Bermek and Ledün Çevik write that although there were no radical shifts in support from the last legislative elections in 2015, […]

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Breaking the populism ‘doom loop’

Is liberal democracy under threat from the rise of populist politics? John Fitzgibbon argues that with citizens voting in increasing numbers for populist parties, a concerted effort to make the value of liberal democracy clear to citizens and to involve them more closely in the policy-making process is sorely needed.

According to many commentators, we are now in a crisis of […]

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    Evidence from the Netherlands: How do populist parties act in parliament?

Evidence from the Netherlands: How do populist parties act in parliament?

Do populist parties behave differently from other parties when they enter parliament? Presenting evidence from a study of parties in the Netherlands, Simon Otjes and Tom Louwerse illustrate that both left-wing and right-wing populist parties tend to primarily voice opposition rather than offer policy alternatives. The growing representation of populist parties in West European parliaments is therefore likely to […]

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Illegality and Italy’s new government

The coalition that has just taken office in Rome did not begin well. But as Andrea Capussela writes, among its proposals is a plan to strengthen the rule of law, which could improve Italy’s unfair and inefficient system. Its opponents lie not only among the country’s establishment, however: tension also exists within the coalition between the Five Star Movement […]

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Understanding the rise of the populist establishment

Studies of populism have traditionally focused on the politics of opposition, such as protest movements and the campaigns of smaller parties. But as Zsolt Enyedi notes, recent election results have demonstrated that populist parties cannot only win power, but also show a surprising level of resilience when they enter government. He argues that populism can no longer be regarded […]

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The Catalan and Spanish crisis: A European perspective

The Catalan independence question remains one of the key issues on the agenda for Spain’s new Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, as he completes his first month in office. Sebastian Balfour writes that Sánchez is likely to carry out a holding operation in the hope that support for his Socialists will grow ahead of the next general election, while the […]

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    Might economists be partly to blame for Trump and moves towards a ‘full British Brexit’?

Might economists be partly to blame for Trump and moves towards a ‘full British Brexit’?

The reasons for the Trump phenomenon and Brexit vote are many and various, but have we overlooked ways in which standard economics, by failing to take seriously the radical uncertainty endemic in modern political economies, has contributed to the populist turn? Richard Bronk argues that by mischaracterising their profession as able to make precise forecasts of uncertain futures – […]

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Power is draining away from Chancellor Merkel

Angela Merkel managed to secure a fourth term in the 2017 German federal election, but she has faced increasing domestic pressure over recent months. John Ryan writes that the fourth term did not end well for previous German Chancellors Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl, and history appears to be repeating itself for Merkel.

Credit: © DW/J. Röhl (CC BY-NC 2.0)
German Chancellor Angela […]

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    Explaining the electoral debacle of social democratic parties in Europe

Explaining the electoral debacle of social democratic parties in Europe

Social democratic parties have experienced a sharp drop in support in several countries across Europe, underlined by the defeat of the German Social Democrats in last year’s German federal elections and the collapse of the Socialist Party in the French presidential and legislative elections. James F. Downes and Edward Chan present data on the role that the financial crisis […]

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    Austria’s right-wing government at six months: What’s the record so far?

Austria’s right-wing government at six months: What’s the record so far?

Austria’s government was sworn in six months ago on 18 December. Manès Weisskircher discusses the domestic record of the new government, noting that so far, its support has remained stable. The government’s biggest domestic hurdle has not been mobilisation against new socioeconomic or migration policies, but rather opposition to the reversal of a smoking ban in restaurants.

Sebastian Kurz with […]

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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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