Vladimir Putin has sought to preside over a carefully managed political system. A series of recent events, however, suggest increasing incoherence and loss of control within Russia’s political elite. These have included an election won and then lost by Russia’s ruling party, a public feud between a general and Russia’s leading anti-corruption campaigner, the poisoning … Continue reading Russia: Putin under Pressure at Home and Abroad
On 10 September Nikola Spiric, Vice-President of the Party of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) and MP in the Bosnian Parliament, was banned by the State Department, along with several members of his family, from entering the United States. The SNSD is the governing party in the Republika Srpska (RS) and is headed by Milorad Dodik, … Continue reading Bosnia: Senior Member of Governing Bosnian Serb Party Sanctioned by US as Election Approaches
With voting in the Swedish elections taking place on 9 September the Social Democrats appear to be taking the lead, but with the populist anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats close behind them and polling strongly. The post-election negotiations on the formation of a new government look set to be difficult, and contentious with both the centre-left and … Continue reading Sweden: Polls Suggest Post-Election Deadlock as End of Campaign Approaches
On 26 August the National Resistance Movement, a coalition of pro-European opposition parties, was gathered over 20,000 of its supporters in the Moldovan capital Chisinau for a major anti government protest. They were able to achieve this in spite of the fact that the government had deployed a series of techniques designed to discredit the … Continue reading Moldova: Opposition Succeeds in Staging Mass Protest Rally in Spite of Government Spoiling Tactics
On the evening of 26 August Vladimir Kovacevic, a journalist, was attacked in Banja Luka, the administrative centre of the Republika Srpska, by two men armed with metal bars. The attack took place twenty minutes after Kovacevic, from the Independent BN TV based in Bijeljina in eastern Bosnia, had left a protest rally which was … Continue reading Bosnia: Attack on Journalist Causes Anger at Dodik As Elections Approach
On 23 August Bratislav Zivkovic, the leader of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Cetnik Movement, was arrested by the police in the southern town of Krusevac on suspicion of taking part in the war in Ukraine. Zivkovic’s detention highlights the wider controversy over the role of pro-Russian Serbian volunteers in the Ukrainian conflict. A Chetnik’s Progress: Bratislav … Continue reading Serbia: Arrest of Paramilitary Leader Highlights Issue of Pro-Russian Volunteers
After the 10 August anti-corruption demonstration in Bucharest in which 452 people were injured by riot police the Social Democrat led government has, in the face of domestic criticism and international scrutiny, been seeking to establish its own version of events. These diversionary tactics will, however, do nothing to resolve the mounting problems faced by … Continue reading Romania: Social Democrat Government Seeks to Change the Narrative As Pressure Mounts After Protests
On 10 August hundreds were injured in Bucharest when the authorities used violence against an anti-government protest. This move may, however, rebound on the leftist government as it produces a strengthened opposition, and an on-going anti-corruption protest movement. Violence on Victory Square: On 10 August the protestors had begun to gather on Victory Square in … Continue reading Romania: Protests Continue After Leftist Government Uses Violence Against Opposition Demonstration
On 7 July 15,000 people gathered in the central square in Banja Luka to protest over the death in suspicious circumstances of David Dragicevic, a twenty one year IT student. It was the 104th such daily demonstration to be held since David Dragicevic’s death three months previously. There is no sign of slackening support for … Continue reading Bosnia: Pressure Mounts Over David Dragicevic Case in Run-Up to Elections
With the Swedish general election taking place on 9 September opinion polls show the populist, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats gaining ground. Polling undertaken in June put the Sweden Democrats leading the field ahead of both the centre-left Social Democrats and the centre-right Moderate Party. The Sweden Democrats rating in recent polls has ranged between 20-26%. The … Continue reading Sweden: Polling Shows Populist Surge As Election Approaches
The victory by Andrei Nastase, the centre-right opposition candidate, in the recent elections for Mayor of Chisinau was invalidated by a court decision on 19 June. His appeal against this ruling was rejected two days later. The opposition parties, who supported Nastase’s candidacy, have announced that they will hold daily rallies to protest against this decision. The stage is now set for a major trial of strength between the government, which controls the state institutions, and the opposition who are determined to defend their election victory.
The battle between the centre-right President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, and the leftist government headed by Liviu Dragnea over control of the country’s legal and judicial institutions has entered a new phase. This last weekend saw the Social Democrats seeking to strengthen their hand in the stand-off with Klaus Iohannis by bringing their supporters from across the country into Bucharest for a major rally. Romania is set to enter turbulent and uncharted waters over the weeks to come.
On 3 June Andrei Nastase, supported by a coalition of centre-right opposition parties, won a clear victory over Ion Ceban from the pro-Russian Socialist Party in the second round run-off of the election for Mayor of Chisinau.
On 25 May 2018 Marion Marechal Le Pen, the former National Front MP and niece of the party leader Marine le Pen, announced that she was changing her name. She would, she stated, from now on be called Marion Marechal.
The established Spanish parties of right and left have been losing support, amidst failures of leadership and policy, and public scandals. At the same time the Citizens, a movement of the radical centre, has emerged as the leading force in Spanish politics. The Citizen’s movement is gaining momentum in the run-up to key regional election … Continue reading Spain: The Crisis in the Established Parties and the Rise of the Citizens
Elections will be taking place in Bosnia on 7 October for the three-member state presidency and for the institutions of the country’s two entities, the Bosnian Federation and the Republika Srpska. The political parties across Bosnia have already begun preparing for the electoral contest which lies ahead. The campaign is set to see the main, … Continue reading Bosnia: Old Parties Face New Challengers as Elections Approach
March 2018 saw Vladimir Putin re-elected as Russian President. As he begins his new six year mandate he is, however, facing a series of inter-connected problems which are largely the product of the policies he has put in place, and which it seems he will find increasingly hard to manage using the political and military … Continue reading Russia: Putin’s Hollow Victory
The Italian elections on 4 March saw major gains by the populist outsider parties, the Five Star Movement and the League. This was paralleled by significant losses for the mainstream parties of the centre-left and centre-right, the Democratic Party and Forza Italia. None of the parties, however, have an overall parliamentary majority. The difficult process … Continue reading Italy: The Political Landscape After the Electoral Earthquake
In the Belgrade assembly elections on 4 March the governing Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) secured victory by a wide margin. Amongst the opposition the elections confirmed the emergence of new political players, and saw the marginalisation of well established parties. The SNS led by Aleksandar Vucic, the current President of Serbia, gained 44.99% of the … Continue reading Serbia: Ruling Party Wins Convincing Victory in Belgrade Elections Against Fragmented Opposition
A Dead Woman Walking: When Theresa May became Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party she inherited from her predecessor, David Cameron, a small but workable, 12 seat parliamentary majority. In April 2017 Theresa May, a politician with a reputation for pragmatism and caution, gambled by calling early parliamentary elections with polling to take … Continue reading United Kingdom: Politics on the Road to Brexit
On 25 February Peter Marki Zay, an independent candidate gained 57.5% of the vote in a by-election in the southern Hungarian town of Hodmezovasarhely defeating Zoltan Hegedus, the candidate of the governing Fidesz party, who secured 41.63% of the vote. The by-election saw a particularly high voter turn-out of 62.45% compared to 36.38% in the … Continue reading Hungary: Fidesz Lose By-Election in Party Stronghold
On 30 January 2018 Viorica Dancila (born 1963) was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Romania. Viorica Dancila is the third individual to hold this office since the left-wing Social Democratic Party (PSD) secured victory in the December 2016 election. Dancila’s predecessors were Sorin Grindeanu (born 1973) who was Prime Minister from January … Continue reading Romania: Another Government Falls
The Killing: On the morning of 16 January Oliver Ivanovic, a prominent Kosovo Serb political leader, was shot six times as he left the offices in Mitrovica of the Freedom Democracy Justice (SDP) civic organisation that he headed by a gunman in a passing car. Oliver Ivanovic was taken to hospital but declared dead shortly … Continue reading Serbia and Kosovo: A Death in Mitrovica
On 28 December 2017 Sergio Mattarella (born 1941), the Italian President, dissolved parliament and announced that new elections would take place on 4 March 2018. The elections will be contested under a new election law, instituted in October 2017, which will see 37% of seats elected by first past the post, 61% on proportional lists, … Continue reading Italy: Will New Elections Lead to Political Instability?
A Move to the Right: On 10 December Laurent Wauquiez (born 1975), MP for Haute-Loire and President of the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, was elected as the leader of the centre-right Republicans. He secured an overwhelming victory with 74.6% of the vote. The turn-out was, however, low with less than half the Republicans membership taking part in … Continue reading France: The Republicans Choose A New Leader
The recent parliamentary elections in Iceland have produced an increasingly fragmented political landscape, and a new government made up out of an unlikely left-right coalition of political opposites. The Independence Party - Decline without Fall? Early parliamentary elections took place in on 28 October following the collapse of the three-party coalition headed by Bjarni … Continue reading Iceland: Early Parliamentary Elections and a New Government
Vuk Jeremic Refurns to the Political Stage: On 22 October the opposition People’s Party (NS) held its founding congress in Belgrade. Vuk Jeremic (born 1975) was elected as President of the new party. Vuk Jeremic, educated at the universities of Cambridge, London (UK) and Harvard (USA), was Serbian Foreign Minister from 2007-2012 during the presidency … Continue reading Serbia: New Opposition Party Founded
On 19 October Winston Peters, the leader of New Zealand First, told a press conference that he had decided to form a coalition government with Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Party. This announcement surprised most political observers. It had been widely assumed that, since polling took place on 23 September, negotiations had been moving towards … Continue reading New Zealand Update: A New Coalition Government is Formed