Elections, party politics and government across Europe

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    What does Andrzej Duda’s presidential election victory mean for Polish politics?

What does Andrzej Duda’s presidential election victory mean for Polish politics?

Poland’s ruling party is hoping that its presidential election victory will encourage domestic and international elites to accept it has a clear three-year run controlling all the levers of state power to continue with its radical state reconstruction programme, writes Aleks Szczerbiak. The reelected President also has a huge personal mandate, giving him the potential to carve out a […]

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    Book Review: Reactionary Democracy: How Racism and the Populist Far Right Became Mainstream by Aurelien Mondon and Aaron Winter

Book Review: Reactionary Democracy: How Racism and the Populist Far Right Became Mainstream by Aurelien Mondon and Aaron Winter

In Reactionary Democracy: How Racism and the Populist Far Right Became Mainstream, Aurelien Mondon and Aaron Winter challenge the assumption that democracy is necessarily progressive through introducing the notion of ‘reactionary democracy’, showing how narratives that claim that the resurgence of racism, populism and the far right are the result of popular demands obscure the manipulation of the idea of ‘the people’ for reactionary […]

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    There is little evidence citizens with populist attitudes are less democratic

There is little evidence citizens with populist attitudes are less democratic

A great deal of research has been conducted on the impact of populist parties on democracy, but do populist voters think differently about democracy than the rest of the electorate? Drawing on recent research, Andrej Zaslove, Bram Geurkink, Kristof Jacobs and Agnes Akkerman explain that individuals with populist attitudes are slightly more in favour of democracy, less likely to […]

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Four things to watch ahead of North Macedonia’s elections

North Macedonia will hold parliamentary elections today. Alejandro Esteso Pérez explains that with tense coalition negotiations expected, the country’s progress toward European integration, the ability of the new government to restore trust in public institutions, and the fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak will all be key issues to watch following the vote.

North Macedonia will go to the polls […]

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    The 2020 presidential election in Belarus: Lukashenko’s moment of reckoning?

The 2020 presidential election in Belarus: Lukashenko’s moment of reckoning?

Belarus will hold a presidential election on 9 August. As Balki Begumhan Bayhan explains, the election is shaping up to be more competitive than usual. She writes that despite several of the main opposition candidates facing obstacles to participating, the election could represent the first serious challenge to Alexander Lukashenko’s power since he won the country’s first post-independence presidential […]

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Who will win Poland’s crucial presidential election?

Poland’s presidential election run-off is on a knife-edge. As Aleks Szczerbiak explains, incumbent Andrzej Duda won the first round convincingly and remains a narrow favourite as no second placed challenger has ever come from so far behind to win. But his liberal opponent has much greater potential to win over supporters of the defeated first round candidates.

Poland’s 12 July […]

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    What the municipal elections in France told us about the future of the French party system

What the municipal elections in France told us about the future of the French party system

After a lengthy delay due to Covid-19, France held the second round of its municipal elections on 28 June. Ben Margulies assesses what the results might mean for the French party system. He writes that the successes of the mainstream centre-left in major cities, and the resilience of the old mainstream parties, suggest that Emmanuel Macron has failed to […]

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    Five paradoxes ahead of this Sunday’s presidential election in Poland

Five paradoxes ahead of this Sunday’s presidential election in Poland

Poland will hold the first round of its delayed presidential election on Sunday. Piotr Zagórski and Fernando Casal Bértoa present five paradoxes that make the election exceptional.

Poles will vote in a presidential election this Sunday for the seventh time since the country’s democratic transition in 1989. Initially scheduled for early May, the vote had to be postponed due to […]

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The election of losers

On 21 June, Serbia held parliamentary elections. The elections, which were boycotted by many opposition parties, saw the Serbian Progressive Party, led by Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić, win a clear majority. Florian Bieber writes that while Vučić’s victory appears absolute, he must also rank as one of the key losers from the contest: a parliament without an opposition cannot […]

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Do populist parties increase electoral participation?

While many observers view the rise of populism as a negative development for democracy, other authors have suggested populist parties might boost political participation by attracting disaffected citizens who do not normally vote. Drawing on a new study, Arndt Leininger and Maurits J. Meijers find evidence that in Central and Eastern Europe the presence of populist parties is associated […]

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    Assessing the impact of Covid-19 on independence movements in Catalonia, Flanders and Scotland

Assessing the impact of Covid-19 on independence movements in Catalonia, Flanders and Scotland

The Covid-19 outbreak is likely to have a lasting impact on European politics, but what does it mean for independence movements? Jonathan Parker writes on the impact so far in Catalonia, Flanders and Scotland.

For three European states in particular, the Covid-19 pandemic has served to catalyse pre-existing territorial disputes and empower peripheral nationalist movements. While the UK, Spain and […]

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    What the latest Household Finance and Consumption Survey tells us about wealth inequality in Europe

What the latest Household Finance and Consumption Survey tells us about wealth inequality in Europe

Questions of inequality and distribution are likely to become increasingly important in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Franziska Disslbacher and Patrick Mokre draw on the latest Household Finance and Consumption Survey, released in March, to shed some light on current trends in European wealth inequality.

Amidst the Covid crisis, some news is drowning in the headlines. For example, many […]

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    The Italian style: Giuseppe Conte’s ‘half-populist’ leadership during Covid-19

The Italian style: Giuseppe Conte’s ‘half-populist’ leadership during Covid-19

From the starting position of a political outsider, Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte has carved a widely positive image for himself, gaining widespread popularity during the Covid-19 crisis. Marino De Luca argues that Conte’s savvy use of communication channels during a time of national emergency, combined with his personality, have helped him project an image of political competence, empathy, and reassurance. 

Only […]

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The uncomfortable truths about populism

Populist politicians are often accused of spreading misinformation, but does this tell the full story? Francesco Duina writes that while there is no question many populists stretch the truth, they also owe their success to their willingness to accurately describe the way millions of people actually feel and act. Anyone interested in opposing populist politicians must be prepared to […]

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    Who opposes the EU? Continuity and change in party Euroscepticism between 2014 and 2019

Who opposes the EU? Continuity and change in party Euroscepticism between 2014 and 2019

A new round of data from the Chapel Hill Expert Survey, covering 2019, is due to be released. The survey, which estimates the positions of political parties on a variety of ideological and policy issues, offers an invaluable tool for assessing political competition in Europe. Ryan Bakker, Liesbet Hooghe, Seth Jolly, Gary Marks, Jonathan Polk, Jan Rovny, Marco Steenbergen, […]

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    Book Review: Democracy Beyond Elections: Government Accountability in the Media Age by Gergana Dimova

Book Review: Democracy Beyond Elections: Government Accountability in the Media Age by Gergana Dimova

In Democracy Beyond Elections: Government Accountability in the Media Age, Gergana Dimova examines the impact that the rise of the media age has had on government accountability, focusing on the cases of Germany, Bulgaria and Russia. This is an important and timely contribution to the revitalisation of democracy studies, writes Georges Kordas, and shows how accountability can be a tool for citizens but […]

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    Public demand for technocratic expertise rises in times of crisis. What does this mean for democracy?

Public demand for technocratic expertise rises in times of crisis. What does this mean for democracy?

Independent experts have played a prominent role in the responses of European governments to the Covid-19 outbreak. But while there appears to have been broad public support for the involvement of experts in policymaking during the crisis, are there potential implications for democracy? Drawing on a new book, Eri Bertsou presents five lessons learned from research on technocratic politics […]

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    Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Spanish Politics edited by Diego Muro and Ignacio Lago

Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Spanish Politics edited by Diego Muro and Ignacio Lago

The Oxford Handbook of Spanish Politics, comprising 41 chapters by renowned scholars and edited by Diego Muro and Ignacio Lago, makes a hugely valuable contribution to understandings of the country through its consistent analysis of contemporary Spanish politics and governance in a comparative European context, rather than in isolation. The veritable wealth of excellent material and analysis in the volume makes the […]

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    Poland’s presidential election: Will the government collapse?

Poland’s presidential election: Will the government collapse?

Poland’s government is in danger of losing its parliamentary majority following a bitter dispute over the timing of the country’s presidential election, writes Aleks Szczerbiak. But although the decomposition of the governing camp could herald a major political re-alignment, it is difficult to see a stable alternative administration emerging in the current parliament.

The Polish government, led by the right-wing […]

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    Democratic backsliding, Poland’s election and Covid-19: What needs to be considered?

Democratic backsliding, Poland’s election and Covid-19: What needs to be considered?

Poland is still planning to hold its presidential election on 10 May, despite the Covid-19 outbreak. Fernando Casal Bértoa and Simona Guerra write that the decision to go ahead with the election raises some important issues in relation to public safety and democratic standards.

On Sunday 10 May, Poland is expected to hold the first round of its presidential election […]

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