Elections, party politics and government across Europe

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    The modest performance of radical left parties in the European elections reflected their limited transnational cooperation

The modest performance of radical left parties in the European elections reflected their limited transnational cooperation

The GUE/NGL group saw its share of seats in the European Parliament decline at the 2019 European elections. Vladimir Bortun argues that a general lack of transnational cooperation between radical left parties was one of the key factors underpinning their disappointing performance.

The 2019 European elections represented a significant electoral step back for radical left parties. Their group in the […]

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    What the Commission’s 2019 country reports say about national parliaments in the Western Balkans

What the Commission’s 2019 country reports say about national parliaments in the Western Balkans

At the end of May, the European Commission published its annual reports on the EU candidate countries and potential candidates in the Western Balkans. Blerim Vela explains what the reports illustrated about the functioning of national parliaments in the region. The Assembly of North Macedonia appeared to be the best-functioning, while the Assembly of Serbia had deteriorated most.

On 29 […]

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    Slovakia’s ‘progressive turn’ is a rejection of corruption – not a stand against populism

Slovakia’s ‘progressive turn’ is a rejection of corruption – not a stand against populism

Zuzana Čaputová took office as Slovakia’s new President on 15 June. Her election victory in March, coupled with her party’s coalition topping the polls in the European elections in May, has been portrayed by many observers as a rejection of populist politics. Michael Rossi argues that this perception is misleading: voters have not delivered a blow against populism, or […]

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    Who votes for new parties? Economic voting, political ideology and populist attitudes

Who votes for new parties? Economic voting, political ideology and populist attitudes

The late-2000s economic and financial crisis is widely credited with facilitating the success of new political parties in Europe. Hugo Marcos-Marne, Carolina Plaza-Colodro and Tina Freyburg argue that voting for new parties cannot be understood as a mere economic response. Rather, populist attitudes can make citizens perceive of new parties as a real alternative to traditional forces in times […]

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    What did the European elections tell us about Poland’s upcoming parliamentary elections?

What did the European elections tell us about Poland’s upcoming parliamentary elections?

An unexpectedly decisive European Parliament election victory gave Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party a major boost ahead of parliamentary elections later this year, although doubts remain over whether it will retain its majority. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that simply uniting the main anti-government parties in an ideologically diverse electoral alliance was clearly not enough for the opposition, which still […]

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    The Czech Republic’s European elections: Out with the old, in with the new?

The Czech Republic’s European elections: Out with the old, in with the new?

The European elections in the Czech Republic saw a number of new MEPs elected, with the Pirate Party and the anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy among the main winners. Monika Brusenbauch Meislova assesses what the outcome of the vote means for Czech politics.

The Czech Republic is known for having a low level of public trust in the EU […]

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    Right-wing populist parties made only modest electoral gains in the EP elections, but their influence is now unprecedented

Right-wing populist parties made only modest electoral gains in the EP elections, but their influence is now unprecedented

Martin Selmayr, the Secretary-General of the European Commission, has stated that the ‘populist wave’ some analysts predicted could appear in the 2019 European Parliament elections was ‘contained’. Mattia Zulianello argues that this greatly overlooks a substantial increase in the influence of right-wing populism over European politics.

In the period preceding the European elections, many journalists and analysts were anticipating that […]

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European Parliament elections preview: Hungary

Polling indicates that Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz is highly likely to win another election victory in the 2019 European Parliament elections. Endre Borbáth and Johannes Wachs write that the real question in the election is not so much whether Fidesz will win, but rather how the party’s relationship with the European People’s Party will develop following the vote.

Hungary’s relationship with […]

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European Parliament elections preview: Sweden

Sweden’s European Parliament election will be held on 26 May. Linda Berg and Jonathan Polk explain that as the elections will come less than a year after the country’s last general election, there may be an expectation they will be more ‘second order’ than usual. Yet, a trend towards higher turnout for EP elections in Sweden, increasingly favourable public […]

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How will Brexit affect the EP elections in the EU27?

Brexit is not a major issue for people voting in the European Parliament elections in the rest of the EU. But Britain’s struggle to leave the EU may make staying in the bloc more attractive, says Sara Hagemann. Nonetheless, given the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure, Eurosceptic parties may be able to exploit hopes that a favourable exit deal […]

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The 2019 EP elections – just another protest vote?

European Parliament elections are often regarded as being ‘second-order’ contests, but is this always the case? Outlining results from a new study in Denmark, Derek Beach explains that when parties run strong campaigns, EU issues are debated in a visible way, and there is a high level of media coverage, these second-order dynamics can be broken. As such, a […]

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    How not to fight an election – lessons for Europe’s centre-right from the 2019 Spanish general election

How not to fight an election – lessons for Europe’s centre-right from the 2019 Spanish general election

The Spanish general election held on 28 April saw the Spanish Socialists, led by Pedro Sánchez, win the largest share of the vote. Yet as Javier Astudillo Ruiz explains, developments on the right of the political spectrum captured many of the headlines. He writes that the results offered a lesson for European centre-right parties of how not to fight […]

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    Elections to the European Parliament: What if more people voted?

Elections to the European Parliament: What if more people voted?

Can the rise of Eurosceptic and extremist parties be blamed on the mobilisation of people who previously had abstained from the polls? An analysis of the 2009 and 2014 elections to the European Parliament suggests that support for Eurosceptic parties would be largely unaffected by changes in voter turnout, write Uwe Remer-Bollow, Patrick Bernhagen and Richard Rose. Extremist parties would even have lost […]

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European Parliament elections preview: Ireland

Ireland’s European elections will be held on 24 May, with local elections also being held on the same day. Rory Costello writes that despite the importance of the Brexit negotiations for Ireland, the European election campaign has so far been surprisingly low-key, reflecting the degree of stability that has returned to the country’s politics since the turbulence of the […]

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European Parliament elections preview: Croatia

The European Parliament elections in Croatia will be held on 26 May. As Tena Prelec explains, turnout is expected to be low, but the results will set the stage for presidential elections later this year and the country’s next parliamentary elections in 2020.

Croatia, the EU’s youngest member state, will take part in its third European Parliament election on 26 May. European […]

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    What do Europeans know about the EU before they go to the polls?

What do Europeans know about the EU before they go to the polls?

Voters across Europe are set to go to the polls for European Parliament elections on 23-26 May, but how much do citizens really know about how the EU works? Florian Stoeckel presents findings from a new survey of citizens in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and Sweden. He writes that while the EU’s democratic deficit is a major debating […]

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    Macron’s reckoning: The European Parliament elections in France

Macron’s reckoning: The European Parliament elections in France

The European Parliament elections will be the first major test at the polls for Emmanuel Macron since being elected president in 2017. These elections come after six months of street protests that have derailed a reform programme the president is now anxious to get back on track. The elections are set to be a tightly fought battle for supremacy […]

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    How smallness produces clientelism, polarisation, record turnout and corruption in Malta

How smallness produces clientelism, polarisation, record turnout and corruption in Malta

Politics in Malta is characterised by deep polarisation between the country’s two main parties and high levels of voter turnout in elections. Wouter Veenendaal explains that these two features are directly tied to the country’s small size, as is the prevalence of clientelism and corruption. All of these elements were evident in the response to the murder of Maltese […]

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European Parliament elections preview: Greece

The last European Parliament elections in 2014 took place during a period of significant tension over the Greek debt crisis. As Zoe Alipranti explains, this time around, the European Parliament elections in Greece are unlikely to feature such a high level of polarisation over Europe. Syriza has drifted away from its radical Euroscepticism, and although substantial dissatisfaction persists among […]

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    The continued strategic relevance of Merkel-style centrism in Germany

The continued strategic relevance of Merkel-style centrism in Germany

With Angela Merkel set to step down as German Chancellor, many members of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) had hoped for the party to shift away from centrist politics toward a more conservative platform. Luuk Molthof argues that this would not only be a strategic mistake for the CDU, but would also overlook the continued strategic relevance of Merkel-style […]

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