Elections, party politics and government across Europe

Europe can’t remain silent over the Catalan crisis

Protests are continuing in Catalonia after Spanish police moved to prevent a planned referendum on independence from taking place on 1 October. Mireia Borrell Porta argues that the European Union should take a more active role in responding to the tensions. She writes that the suggestion the issue is simply an internal one to be dealt with by the […]

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Six things to know about the German election

Ahead of Germany’s federal election on 24 September, Manès Weisskircher highlights six things to know as voters go to the polls. While many observers are expecting a clear victory for Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU, the performance of smaller parties will also be keenly followed as it is highly likely there will be as many as six parties (or seven including the […]

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    Tinker, tailor, soldier… Foreign Minister? The runners and riders for Switzerland’s new federal councillor

Tinker, tailor, soldier… Foreign Minister? The runners and riders for Switzerland’s new federal councillor

The Swiss government is composed of a seven-member Federal Council, which is usually appointed after a parliamentary election. However, on 20 September, a new member of the Federal Council will be appointed due to the resignation of Swiss foreign minister Didier Burkhalter in June. Sean Mueller gives an overview of the three main candidates vying for the position.

Federal Palace […]

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    Election reaction: Norway’s government secures a fragile second term

Election reaction: Norway’s government secures a fragile second term

Norway’s government, led by Erna Solberg, is set to remain in power following the country’s parliamentary election on 11 September. Although the Norwegian Labour Party emerged with the largest number of seats, it lost support in the latter stages of the campaign and fell short of the mark required to regain control of the government. Sveinung Arnesen reacts to […]

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The Catalan endgame: How we got to where we are

Large pro-independence demonstrations are expected in Catalonia today ahead of a proposed referendum on independence on 1 October. Karlo Basta highlights that although many explanations of the Catalan independence movement focus on technical issues, such as the legal provisions for Catalan autonomy or Catalonia’s fiscal arrangements, it is the role of symbolic politics that has perhaps been most important […]

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    The worries of wealth: What Monday’s election might mean for the future of Norway

The worries of wealth: What Monday’s election might mean for the future of Norway

On 11 September, Norwegians will head to the polls to elect a new government. Mi Ah Schoyen and Are Vegard Haug preview the vote, writing that alongside the choice between a centre-left and centre-right administration, the country must also make a number of important strategic decisions in the coming years that will set its future trajectory.

Credit: xoiram42 (CC BY-SA […]

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    Germany’s election: Behind consensus politics lie conflicting ideas of Europe

Germany’s election: Behind consensus politics lie conflicting ideas of Europe

Ahead of the 24 September German federal elections, Angela Merkel and the CDU/CSU are leading by a wide margin, although the number of undecided voters is still high. Annette Bongardt, Lorenzo Codogno and Francisco Torres write that although Europe has been relatively absent from the electoral debate, there is a clash between two different visions: further integration by strengthening […]

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    The right is set to be the big winner in Austria’s upcoming general election

The right is set to be the big winner in Austria’s upcoming general election

Austria will hold a general election on 15 October. Fabio Wolkenstein takes stock of the campaign so far, which has seen the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) move into a polling lead under the leadership of Sebastian Kurz. He suggests that the most likely outcome to emerge from the election will be a coalition between the ÖVP and the right-wing […]

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    German election debate verdict: Schulz didn’t beat Merkel, but he pushed her into some surprise statements

German election debate verdict: Schulz didn’t beat Merkel, but he pushed her into some surprise statements

Last night’s highly anticipated TV debate between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz was viewed by many commentators as a last chance for Schulz to turn around the polling lead held by Merkel’s CDU/CSU. Julian Göpffarth writes that it is unlikely the debate will bring about the major shift in support that the social democrats had hoped for. […]

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    German defence policy: An election primer ahead of the 2017 federal elections

German defence policy: An election primer ahead of the 2017 federal elections

Ahead of the 2017 German federal elections, scheduled for 24 September, we are previewing some of the key issues at stake. Lars Miethke provides a comprehensive primer on the role of defence policy in the campaign, and how each of the country’s main parties view Germany’s future on the international stage.

Credit: NATO (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Angela Merkel’s commitment to increase […]

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    Violence against women in politics is rising – and it’s a clear threat to democracy

Violence against women in politics is rising – and it’s a clear threat to democracy

Violence against female politicians – and the threat of it – is becoming an increasing concern. Mona Lena Krook looks at how social media has opened up new channels for harassment, what distinguishes misogynistic attacks, and how countries are responding to them. She argues that ignoring or playing down the problem is not an option: it represents a growing threat to […]

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    German election campaign series: SPD – “Time for more justice”

German election campaign series: SPD – “Time for more justice”

German voters will go to the polls on 24 September for federal elections. But what do the country’s parties want? What are the possible coalitions? And who has the best campaign strategy to sell their proposals to the electorate? In the second of a series of articles analysing each of the main parties’ campaign pledges, Julian Göpffarth assesses the programme of […]

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    What Geert Wilders and the Antilles can tell us about tensions between populism and liberalism

What Geert Wilders and the Antilles can tell us about tensions between populism and liberalism

‘Populism’ and ‘liberalism’ are often viewed as being in opposition to one another, but many ‘populist’ parties nevertheless cite liberal values in making their case for particular policies, such as a reduction in immigration. Ben Margulies assesses the case of Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom and its approach to the six Caribbean islands that form part of the Kingdom of […]

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    Catalonia and Spain: Will the referendum on independence go ahead?

Catalonia and Spain: Will the referendum on independence go ahead?

The Catalan government has indicated it still intends to hold a referendum on independence on 1 October despite the Spanish government’s insistence that the vote will not take place. Sebastian Balfour writes that nothing could be more unpredictable than the outcome of the current impasse, as an almost unstoppable force, the Catalan movement for independence, is about to clash […]

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    Populism is overrated – if there is a threat to democracy, it’s from authoritarian nationalism

Populism is overrated – if there is a threat to democracy, it’s from authoritarian nationalism

Numerous authors and political figures have identified the rise of populism as a potential threat to European democracy. Tjitske Akkerman argues that the threat of populism has been heavily overstated. She writes that if there are any ideologies threatening liberal democracies today, nationalism and authoritarianism are far more likely candidates than populism.

Credit: Dr Case (CC BY-SA-2.0)
Populism is perhaps the […]

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Judicial reforms in Poland – getting the public on board

On 24 July, Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda, indicated that he would veto several judicial reforms that had generated protests within the country. Anna Matczak argues that the views of the public toward judicial reform have become obscured. She highlights that there is a deep level of mistrust among Polish citizens toward the criminal justice system and that the recent controversy should be […]

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    Relying on Basque nationalists, but still in power: Where next for Spain’s ‘weak’ government?

Relying on Basque nationalists, but still in power: Where next for Spain’s ‘weak’ government?

Since being returned to power following elections last year, Mariano Rajoy’s Spanish government has had to rely on the support of smaller parties, such as Ciudadanos and the Basque Nationalist Party, to pass key legislation, including the 2017 national budget. Caroline Gray assesses what this fragile political situation has meant for the country, noting that while Rajoy has so […]

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Five views: Is populism really a threat to democracy?

Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 US presidential election, the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and the rise of anti-establishment parties across Europe have prompted discussions over the role of ‘populism’ in modern politics. But is populism really a threat to democracy or is the term simply used by mainstream politicians to dismiss the legitimate concerns of citizens? […]

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    ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’: What GE2017 taught us about the link between music and politics

‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’: What GE2017 taught us about the link between music and politics

Does music have an effect on politics? Analysing the involvement of musicians in the UK’s 2017 general election campaign, Patrycja Rozbicka explains why we should start viewing music as a form of engagement with politics, not merely of political expression.
The phenomenon of mixing music and politics together is not new. We are familiar with New Labour using D:Ream’s ‘Things Can Only Get […]

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    The crisis of the French Socialist Party: Does the PS still have a future?

The crisis of the French Socialist Party: Does the PS still have a future?

The French Socialist Party (PS) suffered a dramatic fall in popularity in the 2017 French presidential and legislative elections, with a number of high profile members subsequently choosing to leave the party in the aftermath of the result. Marco Damiani traces the party’s decline and assesses whether the PS still has a future in the French party system.

The 2017 […]

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