Elections, party politics and government across Europe

Rajoy loses power in Spain: What happens now?

Following a vote of no confidence in Mariano Rajoy, Pedro Sánchez is the new Prime Minister of Spain. Ben Margulies explains how Rajoy’s demise came about and outlines what might happen next with the country potentially heading for new elections.

Politics, unlike theatre, rarely gets pacing right. Either one spends months waiting for some seemingly inevitable drama, or all hell […]

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    Macri and Macron: Why the Argentine and French presidents share more than their surnames

Macri and Macron: Why the Argentine and French presidents share more than their surnames

When Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency a little over a year ago, he was viewed by many of his supporters as an ‘antidote to populism’ and as someone capable of implementing an ambitious reform programme. Sam Maynard and Ilona Lahdelma compare Macron’s period in office with another President who came to power in similar circumstances: Mauricio Macri, the President […]

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    Italy’s crisis: Wouldn’t it be simpler if the government simply dissolved the people and elected another?

Italy’s crisis: Wouldn’t it be simpler if the government simply dissolved the people and elected another?

The decision of Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, to veto the appointment of Paolo Savona as Italian finance minister has sent the country into a political crisis. Bob Hancké argues that although Mattarella was legally within his rights to do what he did, his actions not only raise questions about democratic legitimacy, but are almost certainly not in Italy’s long-term […]

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    Understanding the transformed moral landscape in Ireland following the ‘repeal the 8th’ referendum

Understanding the transformed moral landscape in Ireland following the ‘repeal the 8th’ referendum

Voters in Ireland have backed a proposal to amend the Irish constitution to allow for a liberalisation of the country’s abortion laws. But the referendum result also said a great deal about the social attitudes of Irish citizens more broadly. Lisa Smyth traces the history of abortion law in Ireland, writing that the moral certainties that underpinned the Eighth […]

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    Would government prove a poisoned chalice for the Five Star Movement?

Would government prove a poisoned chalice for the Five Star Movement?

The formation of a new Five Star Movement/Lega government in Italy is in doubt after Italian President Sergio Mattarella refused to approve of Giuseppe Conte’s proposed economy minister, Paolo Savona. Ben Margulies writes that if the Five Star Movement does enter government, the main risk for the party will come from the Italian economy. Should external factors, such as EU constraints or the bond markets, force […]

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    Ireland’s referendum illustrated a major shift in Irish society and the country’s social attitudes

Ireland’s referendum illustrated a major shift in Irish society and the country’s social attitudes

Irish voters have backed a proposal to amend the current constitutional provision which places a ban on abortion in most circumstances. Anthony Costello assesses what the result means for both the country’s abortion laws and Irish society, noting that the will of the people has spoken and there is now a clear mandate for progressive change.

On 25 May, the […]

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    Ireland votes to repeal the 8th: Will Northern Ireland be next to liberalise its abortion laws?

Ireland votes to repeal the 8th: Will Northern Ireland be next to liberalise its abortion laws?

Ireland’s abortion referendum on 25 May resulted in a victory for the ‘Yes’ side campaigning to reform the country’s strict abortion laws by repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution. For Jennifer Thomson, the result underlines a dramatic transformation that has taken place in Irish society over recent decades, however it also shines a light on Northern Ireland, […]

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Can there be a democratic theory for the real world?

Is there a problem with democracy? Phil Parvin argues that the time has come to engage with the wealth of data that has emerged about citizens, their motivations, and their abilities, and take a clear-headed view about what democratic states can expect of them. A more representative politics, as opposed to a more participatory one, would better meet the […]

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    The Five Star Movement and the rise of ‘techno-populist’ parties

The Five Star Movement and the rise of ‘techno-populist’ parties

The Five Star Movement and Lega’s nomination of Italian law professor Giuseppe Conte as the next Prime Minister of Italy presents a puzzle: why would an apparently ‘populist’ government nominate a Prime Minister who fits the mould of a technocrat? Chris Bickerton writes that given the Five Star Movement’s history, we should not be surprised at the nomination of […]

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Three challenges in contemporary populism research

Populism has become one of the most hotly debated topics in European politics, but how should academics seek to study it? Yannis Stavrakakis identifies three key challenges in contemporary populism research: the need for critical reflexivity, the use of minimal definitions, and the difficulty in capturing and accounting for different types or degrees of populism.

Today populism seems to be […]

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    Book Review: Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France by Jim Wolfreys

Book Review: Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France by Jim Wolfreys

In Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France, Jim Wolfreys describes the emergence of a ‘respectable racism’ against Muslims in France since the 1980s, fuelled by the ‘War on Terror’ and rooted in the nation’s colonial history. Praising the book’s candid and incisive writing, Elsa Stéphan welcomes this as a commendably comprehensive and accessible account on Islamophobia in contemporary France. 
Republic of Islamophobia: The […]

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    Italy’s post-electoral intrigues shed light on the country’s political culture

Italy’s post-electoral intrigues shed light on the country’s political culture

Following difficult negotiations in the aftermath of the Italian election on 4 March, Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, has stated the country has two options: a neutral ‘technical’ government, or new elections. Roland Benedikter writes that the situation points toward prolonged instability and more short-term arrangements rather than the stable reform alliance which the country urgently needs.

Credit: Davide Oliva (CC […]

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    History will judge ETA as a failed terrorist group, but there are lessons to be learned

History will judge ETA as a failed terrorist group, but there are lessons to be learned

The Basque separatist group ETA has formally announced it is disbanding, following a decades-long campaign that claimed the lives of over 800 people. George Kassimeris writes that ETA’s conception of the political environment was always one of resistance and violence. But while history will judge ETA as a failed terrorist group, the lesson for the rest of Europe is […]

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    Yulia Tymoshenko’s policies sit uneasily with her image as a pro-European politician

Yulia Tymoshenko’s policies sit uneasily with her image as a pro-European politician

Yulia Tymoshenko, who played a major part in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, is typically regarded as one of the most high profile pro-western figures in Ukrainian politics. Taras Kuzio argues that despite this reputation, her policies on a number of key issues are at odds with her pro-European image.

Vox Ukraine, a well-known and respected Kyiv think tank, has become a […]

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    A revolution of values: Freedom, responsibility, and courage in the Armenian Velvet Revolution

A revolution of values: Freedom, responsibility, and courage in the Armenian Velvet Revolution

Mass protests in Armenia, which began in April and led to the resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, have been dubbed a ‘Velvet Revolution’. Armine Ishkanian explains that this revolution has been rooted in the values of Armenian society and its domestic, socio-economic and political realities, rather than geopolitics or foreign relations. But with events developing rapidly, it remains […]

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What are the prospects for the Polish left?

Poland’s communist successor party has seen its opinion poll ratings increase in recent months. This upturn in support came after the revival of debates about the country’s communist past prompted by government legislation affecting the interests of its core electorate. But as Aleks Szczerbiak writes, the party’s leadership has failed to develop any new ideas or initiatives that can […]

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The problem with Iceland’s proposed ban on circumcision

A proposal to ban circumcision for non-medical reasons in Iceland has generated a heated debate over whether banning the practice would amount to an attack on religious freedom. Iddo Porat argues that we should be suspicious of any majority proposed legislation which affects only minority groups.

This article is one of two pieces published by EUROPP on this topic. For an […]

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    Caught between two stools: The Five Star Movement and government policy

Caught between two stools: The Five Star Movement and government policy

The Five Star Movement has cultivated an image as a party that exists outside of the traditional left/right spectrum, and this image underpinned the party’s success in the 2018 Italian general election, where it secured over 32% of the vote. But as Pierangelo Isernia and Gianluca Piccolino explain, the diverse nature of the Five Star Movement’s supporters poses a […]

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A new political bandwagon? The rise of Ciudadanos in Spain

Support for Ciudadanos has risen substantially in Spanish opinion polls over recent months, with the party in first place in several cases. But is the party really on the brink of taking over from Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party and becoming the dominant force in Spanish politics? Alejandro Quiroga highlights several factors, including the crisis over Catalan independence, that are […]

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Populism and the broken engine of the Italian economy

In Italy, the temptation to go back in time, or shut the door to Europe and globalisation is strong, especially after a quarter of a century of poor economic performance, argue Lorenzo Codogno and Giampaolo Galli. Anti-establishment parties, which gained an outright majority in Parliament in the country’s recent elections, blame the past reform process, together with the threats […]

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