Elections, party politics and government across Europe

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    What to expect from Law and Justice’s second term in government

What to expect from Law and Justice’s second term in government

Law and Justice maintained its position in power at the Polish general election in October, but the party may well face a more challenging political and economic environment during its second term in office. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that to govern effectively, Law and Justice will need to win next May’s crucial presidential election, hope the economy remains buoyant enough […]

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UK general election primers: Immigration

Polling data suggests that Brexit is viewed as the most important issue for voters ahead of the UK’s general election on 12 December. Immigration, which has previously been viewed as one of the most important issues, has experienced a relative decline in salience since the last general election in 2017, but its purported effects on the labour market and the […]

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    North Macedonia shows why efforts to tackle corruption must be backed up by research

North Macedonia shows why efforts to tackle corruption must be backed up by research

The discovery of thousands of illegally wiretapped recordings generated a major scandal in North Macedonia in 2015. Following the scandal, there were renewed demands to tackle corruption and state capture. Misha Popovikj argues that the experience in the four years since highlights why anti-corruption strategies must be built on a thorough diagnosis of the problem.

Back in 2015, European […]

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    Brexit and the tragedy of the Commons: How wedge issues generate detrimental outcomes

Brexit and the tragedy of the Commons: How wedge issues generate detrimental outcomes

It is unclear whether the UK’s general election on 12 December will unlock the stalemate over Brexit that characterised the previous parliament. Tim Heinkelmann-Wild and Lisa Kriegmair write that the inability of Theresa May and Boris Johnson to win the backing of MPs for their Brexit strategies illustrates the impact that ‘wedge issues’ can have on party politics. As […]

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    Book Review: In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy by Katrina Forrester

Book Review: In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy by Katrina Forrester

With In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy, Katrina Forrester explores how John Rawls’s justice theory became the dominant way of thinking about institutions and individuals in the second half of the twentieth century. This important work sheds light on the conceptual roots of modern political thought while at the same time disclosing its limits, writes Rahel […]

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The Expo dilemma: What a trivial story tells us about Italy

Obey the law, and risk irreparable harm to a significant public interest, or break the law and safeguard it? Andrea Capussela writes that this dilemma was briefly the subject of debate in Italy. That nobody said that a third alternative existed casts some light on the country’s problems.

For a quarter of a century, Italy has been in decline. The […]

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    Book Review: Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World by Branko Milanovic

Book Review: Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World by Branko Milanovic

If capitalism has triumphed to become the sole socio-economic system globally, what are the prospects for achieving a fairer world? In his new book Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World, Branko Milanovic examines the historical shifts that have led to capitalism’s dominance and looks at the varieties of capitalism at work today to propose choices to ensure […]

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    The ‘lavender vote’: How sexuality affects the choices of voters across Europe

The ‘lavender vote’: How sexuality affects the choices of voters across Europe

Drawing on a new study, Stuart J. Turnbull-Dugarte demonstrates that sexuality has a significant impact on political behaviour across western Europe, with lesbian, gay and bisexual voters far more likely to back parties on the left.

In a recent study, I carried out what is likely to be the first large cross-national analysis of the voting preferences of lesbian, gay […]

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    Explaining the surge of the far-right ahead of Spain’s election

Explaining the surge of the far-right ahead of Spain’s election

The far-right party Vox is expected to see a sharp increase in support in the Spanish general election on Sunday. Mariana S. Mendes writes that the party has clearly benefited from the heightened attention paid to Catalan independence in recent weeks, but it has also managed to successfully instrumentalise the issue of irregular migration, despite a fall in the […]

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Can the European Union tackle corruption and state capture?

A key aim of the EU’s eastern enlargement was to improve standards of governance and the rule of law in Central and Eastern Europe. Yet as Dimitar Bechev explains, the last 15 years have produced a mixed record. He argues that while the EU cannot offer any silver bullets, it is still a badly-needed ally in strengthening the rule of […]

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    Much greener than expected: Key takeaways from the 2019 Swiss federal elections

Much greener than expected: Key takeaways from the 2019 Swiss federal elections

Green parties were the main winners from the 2019 Swiss federal elections held on 20 October. Clive H. Church explains that in a country known for the stability of its party system, the gains made by the Green Party and the Green Liberals were striking. However, given the unique way in which governments are formed in Switzerland, and with […]

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    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the ghosts of West European communism live on

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the ghosts of West European communism live on

Germany will mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November. Martin J. Bull writes that alongside the sweeping changes that occurred in central and eastern Europe, the end of the Cold War also had a lasting legacy for western European states. While the demise of western Europe’s communist parties after 1989 appeared to […]

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Podcast review: Putin: Prisoner of Power by Misha Glenny

In a new podcast series, British journalist Misha Glenny provides an examination of the rise and reign of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Peter Finn and Robert Ledger write that although the series is relatively short, it constitutes a weighty journalistic endeavour with insights on the evolution of post-Soviet Russia and Putin’s expansion and consolidation of power.

There is currently a […]

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    Civil society needs support to fight corruption and organised crime in the Western Balkans

Civil society needs support to fight corruption and organised crime in the Western Balkans

Civil society organisations and investigative journalists in the Western Balkans are critical to raising awareness about fighting corruption and organised crime, as well as supporting state authorities to develop effective strategies. But as Andi Hoxhaj explains, they lack capacity and resources to address these complex issues, while activists are often harassed and intimidated by the authorities and other powerful […]

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    The Italian right sweeps to victory in Umbria: What now for the second Conte government?

The Italian right sweeps to victory in Umbria: What now for the second Conte government?

Regional elections in Umbria on 27 October produced a clear victory for Matteo Salvini and the Italian right. Daniele Albertazzi and Mattia Zulianello write that with the Five Star Movement and Democratic Party failing to pass their first electoral test since forming a government together in the summer, Italy could soon be heading for a new general election.

The Italian […]

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    Improving tax collection through depoliticisation: The story of a key Troika-led reform in Greece

Improving tax collection through depoliticisation: The story of a key Troika-led reform in Greece

Greece created an independent public revenue authority as a condition for receiving financial assistance during the country’s debt crisis. As Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos and Argyris G. Passas explain, the reform effectively depoliticised tax collection, which had long been a major problem in Greece. They write that while it is still too early to assess whether the reform will be […]

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Book Review: The Far Right Today by Cas Mudde

In The Far Right Today, Cas Mudde provides readers with a comprehensive overview of contemporary far right politics: a pressing task considering that groups or parties once located on the fringe of mainstream politics have experienced a surge in popularity over recent years across Europe and beyond. The most worrying aspect of this surge, argues the author, is the mainstreaming and normalisation […]

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    Are men really more interested in politics than women – or are we just asking the wrong questions?

Are men really more interested in politics than women – or are we just asking the wrong questions?

A persistent finding in public opinion research is that men, on average, tend to express more interest in politics than women. Drawing on new research on the views of Spanish citizens, Marta Fraile, Raúl Gómez, Mónica Ferrín and Gema García-Albacete explain that one potential reason for this is that the questions contained in surveys might obscure hidden differences in […]

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    Will Spain’s latest attempt to extradite Carles Puigdemont succeed?

Will Spain’s latest attempt to extradite Carles Puigdemont succeed?

After two previous attempts, first in Belgium, then in Germany, a fresh European Arrest Warrant has been issued for the arrest of former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont. Auke Willems argues that this will not merely be a rerun of prior cases. The Belgian courts will have to answer a number of ‘new’ fundamental questions before granting the request to […]

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Five lessons from Kosovo’s parliamentary elections

Kosovo held parliamentary elections on 6 October. Blerim Vela outlines five key lessons that can be learned from the vote, which saw opposition parties make substantial gains.

Election Day in Kosovo went by without any major incidents that could harm the electoral process, despite a narrow race between Kosovo’s political parties. The preliminary results showed that voters had punished […]

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