Elections, party politics and government across Europe

Book Review: Populism by Benjamin Moffitt

In Populism, Benjamin Moffitt offers a new study that looks to assess the current state of scholarship on populism. Jake Scott finds the book goes a significant way toward providing the clarity that can be so lacking when it comes to understanding populism.
Populism. Benjamin Moffitt. Polity. 2020.
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When the editors of The Oxford Handbook of Populism (2017) remarked that it was just as important […]

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    Only public dialogue can resolve Poland’s judicial reform crisis

Only public dialogue can resolve Poland’s judicial reform crisis

New disciplinary procedures for Polish judges have generated a sharply polarised response from Polish citizens. The reforms are part of a wider judicial reform programme the ruling Law and Justice party has implemented since coming to power in 2015. Anna Matczak argues that while politicians often cite public opinion when making their case for or against the reforms, there […]

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    Lessons from another extraordinary general election in Ireland

Lessons from another extraordinary general election in Ireland

Sinn Féin won the highest share of the vote at Ireland’s general election on 8 February. As Conor Little explains, the late surge in support for the party was so unexpected that it failed to run enough candidates in the election to fully capitalise on its popularity. The resulting volatility, fragmentation and polarisation will make coalition negotiations challenging, and […]

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Introducing eastern Germany’s far-right intellectuals

On 5 February, Thomas Kemmerich of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) was elected as Minister President of Thuringia with the help of the Alternative for Germany (AfD). Sabine Volk explains that the incident, which has generated a heated reaction in Germany, highlights the role of far-right groups in shaping public debate in eastern Germany.

Following the AfD’s coup in Thuringia […]

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What are the prospects for the Polish Peasant Party?

The unexpected success of Poland’s agrarian-centrist party in last autumn’s parliamentary election suggests that there could be a niche for a moderate conservative-centrist grouping among voters uncomfortable with the country’s right-wing ruling party and liberal-left opposition, writes Aleks Szczerbiak. But, critics argue, in spite of its changing electorate and apparently more open political style, the agrarian party remains a […]

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    A political economy forecast of Ireland’s 2020 general election: Will the government lose fewer seats than expected?

A political economy forecast of Ireland’s 2020 general election: Will the government lose fewer seats than expected?

Irish voters will go to the polls today for a general election. Michael S. Lewis-Beck and Stephen Quinlan outline a new forecast model which suggests that Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael will lose seats, but perhaps fewer than opinion polls currently suggest.

Irish voters head to the ballot box today. According to recent national opinion polls, we are on the cusp of a seismic shift, […]

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    Far-right, populist or bourgeois? How the election of Thuringia’s regional governor shakes up German politics

Far-right, populist or bourgeois? How the election of Thuringia’s regional governor shakes up German politics

The election of liberal politician Thomas Kemmerich as regional governor of the German state of Thuringia has shaken up German politics. Julian Göpffarth writes that the surprise vote shows far-right ideas in Germany not only resonate with the economically left-behind, but also with an educated bourgeoisie.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020 is likely to enter German post war history as a […]

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Brexit and the liberal elephant trap

Given the success of populist politicians across Europe, some pro-Europeans have openly wondered whether they should adopt the same tactics as populist parties to make the case for European integration. Michael Cottakis argues that this would be a mistake. To reverse the trend, pro-Europeans must quit dabbling in populism and instead play to their strengths by promoting dialogue and […]

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    Azerbaijan’s snap election: a real contest or business as usual?

Azerbaijan’s snap election: a real contest or business as usual?

Azerbaijan will hold a snap parliamentary election on 9 February. Arzu Geybullayeva explains that although there is little expectation the vote will be genuinely free and fair, there is a sense that this election could constitute a break with the past given the visibility of new candidates. However, it remains to be seen whether this will translate into real […]

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Book Review: Resist: Stories of Uprising edited by Ra Page

In Resist: Stories of Uprising, editor Ra Page brings together contributors to offer an anthology of short stories and critical essays that narrate a rich counter-history of resistance in the UK, spanning from the Boudicca Rebellion to the protests in response to Grenfell Tower. Positioning fiction as a radical medium, this is a valuable book that will be of particular interest to participants and scholars […]

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    If Poland’s government believes in ending discrimination, it should reassess its conception of Polish identity

If Poland’s government believes in ending discrimination, it should reassess its conception of Polish identity

In recent years, a march has been held in Poland to mark the country’s independence. While the event is viewed as an opportunity to remember those who died in the process of establishing the Polish state, it has also faced allegations of racism and xenophobia. Bolaji Balogun argues that in light of these debates, it is worth examining how ethnic […]

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    Understanding the key factors that lead countries to reform their pension systems

Understanding the key factors that lead countries to reform their pension systems

Faced with ageing populations and strains on their public finances, many countries across Europe have endeavoured to reform their pension systems, yet these reforms have varied substantially in their content and aims. Leandro N. Carrera and Marina Angelaki present findings from a novel study of eight European countries to highlight the key factors that lead countries to undergo significant […]

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    How will the latest judicial reform controversy affect Poland’s presidential election?

How will the latest judicial reform controversy affect Poland’s presidential election?

New disciplinary procedures for Polish judges have moved a controversial judicial reform programme to the top of the political agenda in the run-up to Poland’s presidential election in May. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that although the issue could mobilise and consolidate the right-wing vote, thereby helping incumbent President Andrzej Duda, the potential for political instability and legal chaos means it […]

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    Lessons from the Nordics: Does party membership still provide a meaningful link between citizens and politics?

Lessons from the Nordics: Does party membership still provide a meaningful link between citizens and politics?

Political parties play a crucial role in enabling the views of citizens to be represented in political decision-making. Yet across Europe, the vast majority of citizens no longer actively participate in political parties, with party membership numbers experiencing a sharp fall in recent decades. Drawing on a new edited volume covering the Nordic countries, Marie Demker, Knut Heidar and […]

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    The failed integration of an anti-system party: Where Luigi Di Maio and the Five Star Movement went wrong

The failed integration of an anti-system party: Where Luigi Di Maio and the Five Star Movement went wrong

Luigi Di Maio is expected to resign as leader of Italy’s Five Star Movement later today. Mattia Zulianello writes that Di Maio’s resignation will represent the latest twist in the story of an anti-system party that has suffered from a failed attempt to integrate into the system it previously opposed.

According to reports from several Italian media outlets, Luigi Di […]

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Book Review: Anatomies of Revolution by George Lawson

In Anatomies of Revolution, George Lawson offers a new account of how revolutions begin, unfold and end through a dynamic amalgam of in-depth sociological theory, multiple historical narratives and poignant commentary on contemporary politics. This book is a triumph when it comes to a creative theorisation of revolution, writes Eric Loefflad, providing clarity not in spite of complexity, but through it. 
If you are […]

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Austria’s new ÖVP-Green government: united in diversity?

Austria’s new coalition government, incorporating the conservative ÖVP and the Green Party, was sworn in on 7 January. Paul Schmidt writes that the two parties have so far expressed a desire to find working compromises between their competing priorities. However, the rest of Europe will be watching with interest to see if their partnership remains sustainable in the long-term.

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    Battle of the mandate: Defining the dispute over a new Scottish independence referendum

Battle of the mandate: Defining the dispute over a new Scottish independence referendum

The ongoing dispute over whether a new Scottish independence referendum should take place reflects very different interpretations of Scotland’s sovereignty, writes Anthony Salamone. Questions of whether Westminster or Holyrood can determine if a new referendum is held are distinct from the issue of independence itself, and will most likely continue to be contested at least until after the next Scottish […]

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    If governments want to target the inflation of CEO pay, they should also address pay inequality between managers

If governments want to target the inflation of CEO pay, they should also address pay inequality between managers

A number of governments across the world have sought to regulate the pay of company executives to help reduce inequality. However, as Renira C. Angeles and Achim Kemmerling explain, efforts to control average levels of executive pay often overlook the inequality that exists between managers, firms and sectors.

Since the 1980s, there have been numerous scandals about the excessive growth […]

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    Austria’s new ÖVP-Green coalition is unlikely to alter the country’s conservative course

Austria’s new ÖVP-Green coalition is unlikely to alter the country’s conservative course

On 7 January, Austria’s new government was sworn in by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen. For the first time in history, the country will be co-governed by the centre-left Green Party, who became the junior coalition partner of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). However, as Maya Janik explains, there is little reason to believe the composition of the […]

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