Elections

The elections in Macedonia brought political balance, but will they bring stability or restore democracy?

The early parliamentary elections, held on 11 December, had a very high turnout. In total, 1,191,521 voters (66.82% of the electorate) cast their ballot. In some electoral units the turnout was over 70%; however, it was lower in electoral unit six, where ethnic Albanians constitute a majority. There were a high number of invalid ballots (37,821). These were the most unpredictable elections Macedonia has had since its independence. The electoral competition was very close: pre-election polls showed that the VMRO-DPMNE, the incumbent party, led by two to four percent. SDSM, the opposition...

Macedonia: escape from the abyss or sinking even deeper?

The “most important” elections

On the 11th of December, the citizens of Macedonia will vote in yet another early election. Early elections have become the norm since 2006, when the last regular parliamentary elections were held. Many political and public personalities have described the current election cycle as Macedonia’s “most important” elections since its independence.  This election owes its importance to a two-year-long political crisis resulting from the revelation of a wire-tapping scandal by the main opposition party, SDSM. The scandalous content of the...

Huge Victory for EU Parties in Serbia

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz was quick to congratulate to Aleksandar Vučić on his victory in Sundays elections in Serbia. The German conservative MEP David McAllister joined the victory celebration of the Progressive Party (SNS), apparently being a bit disappointed that a party winning nearly 50% of the vote did have a more enthusiastic celebration. Headlines across Europe celebrate a victory for reforms and EU. However, the reality of early elections in Serbia are much more sobering.

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vučić triggered early Parliamentary elections...

2016 Snap Elections will reaffirm semi-authoritarian rule in Serbia

Serbian snap Parliamentary elections will take place on April 24, as announced by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, despite the country’s next election not being due until 2018. To many outside observers this move came as an utter surprise, since Vučić’s government currently enjoys overwhelming support in the Serbian Parliament. Those surprised by recent events, however, have probably forgotten that the 2014 elections were also prematurely triggered by Vučić, this time in order to diminish the rule of the Prime Minister Dačić and his socialist party. Furthermore, of the 11 Serbian...

Macedonia in 2016: Resolving or reinforcing the political crisis?

On January 15, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn came to Macedonia to seal the deal on the agreement paving the way out of the crisis via early elections in April 2016. However, the main opposition party, SDSM, objected to the elections, expressing doubt that conditions are sufficient for them to be free and fair. On the other hand, the ruling party, VMRO-DPMNE, as well as the two Albanian parties, DUI and DPA, want elections in April. The international community hopes that the implementation of the agreement and elections will bring political stability and predictability in...

First „return to Europe“, then to the 1990s

Almost two years after it joined the European Union, Croatia is still in a rather deep economic crisis, which has resulted in high unemployment and continued decrease of the country’s GDP. Although there are some signs of recovery, it will take time before the first positive trends are felt by the general population. At the same time, however, there are no benefits of EU membership that could be easily recognised by the general population. Not many expected a miracle and thus few are disappointed. However, one would expect in these circumstances for political life in the country to be...

Deciphering the Greek Election Results: A Few Preliminary Thoughts

The verdict of the Greek people in the national elections of 25 January 2015 was loud and clear. The Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) prevailed, winning 36.3% of votes against 27.8% of New Democracy (ND), the main centre-right party. The Greek voters unequivocally expressed their exhaustion, despair and resent caused by a five-year-long period of recession and austerity policies.

The far-right party of Golden Dawn (XA) got 6.3% of votes despite a series of revelations concerning its criminal activities and the imprisonment of almost its entire political...

Elections in Bosnia—Business as usual?

The Bosnian elections last Sunday brought change, but it seems unlikely that they will make a difference. There is no clear heading under which the election results can be summarized. The return of nationalist does it little justice. First, the Party of Democratic Action, the main national Bosniak party, won a clear victory in the Federation, becoming the largest party in every single canton with a Bosniak majority. In all Croat dominated cantons, HDZ became the largest party. In addition, both parties won the respective seats in the Bosnian presidency. However, this result is less a...

Bosnia-Herzegovina Post-Election Review: Fleeting Victories Abound

A complete analysis of the BiH elections will only be possible once the full results of the polls are known in the coming days. Nevertheless, it is possible at this juncture to offer some preliminary thoughts which can guide our observations of the events to come.

To begin with, with a marginally worse figure than in 2010, turnout continues to be a major problem in BiH elections. The reasons for this are multifaceted, as a recent study concluded, but are certainly in large part...

Analysis of the Macedonian Presidential Elections

On 13th of April, Macedonia had its first round of the Presidential elections. The incumbent, Professor Gjorgje Ivanov, supported by the conservative VMRO-DPMNE, faced three challengers: Stevo Pendarovski supported by the former communist SDSM; Iljaz Halimi from the ethnic Albanian opposition party, DPA and Zoran Popovski from the newly founded GROM. Turnout was 49%, less than in 2009 when at the first round of presidential elections it was 57%, and much less than at the last local elections last spring when turnout was 67%. The coalition partner of VMRO-DPMNE, ethnic Albanian party the...

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