On 23 October 2011 a presidential election was held in Bulgaria, together with the country’s municipal elections, with a run-off on 30 October 2011. This comment explore the way that these elections were conducted, the political platforms of the three main contestants, and finally assess their outcome for the future politics of Bulgaria.
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From a party-political perspective, the election has seen at least a partial consolidation of the pattern of competition. Although the spectacular arrival of a new party, the pro-market and libertarian Palikot Movement (Ruch Palikota, RP) represents a new locus of ideological identification in this structure, the surprise of its emergence should not lead to the rash drawing of conclusions as to its present relevance or future prospects. When the novelty of Palikot's triumph has worn off, the governing liberal-conservative Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO) - and Tusk in particular - will remain the real winners of this election.
While the centre-left as expected won the Danish election on 15 September 2011, the victory turned out to be much narrower than predicted and the two main parties of the Left, the Social Democrats (S) and SF both lost votes compared with the 2007 election.
When the preliminary electoral results came in the evening of 17 September, two things were rather clear. First, the Harmony Centre (Saskaņas centrs, SC) seems to be the winner of the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Latvia. Second, the so-called oligarch parties have suffered a humiliating defeat.
The 2011 election will differ from the previous elections in two important ways: First, there is a real likelihood for a change in government with Social Democratic leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt taking over as prime minister. Second, the campaign so far has been dominated by debates about the state of the economy while immigration and health care, the major themes of the three previous campaigns, have played only a minor role.
Populist temptation has always haunted Latvia. Not less now, when voters are struggling to recover from Europe´s deepest GDP-fall. “People want change”, says professor Runcis who fears that Zatlers can not deliver that, and so distrust of politicians might grow. The political scientist is worried about the ex-presidents lack of competence in the economic field, and he is critical of Zatler´s political ambitions.
The referendum on dissolution of Saeima will be held on 23 July and it seems that the voters might support Zatlers’ motion to dissolve Saeima. According to the internet poll by TNS Latvia, 84 % of the respondents replied that they would vote for dissolution, while only 4 % would vote against. If Saeima is dissolved, the parliamentary elections will be held no later than 23 September 2011.
On 5 June, 2011, Macedonia held its 7th parliamentary election since the post-communist transition began in 1990. The ruling conservative party, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity, scored another victory. Political conflicts in Macedonia has eclipsed tension within the Albanian community, which represents a reversal of long-standing patterns of electoral politics in the country.
A number of representatives of the opposition in Belarus participated in a seminar “The Way Forward for Belarus”. The seminar addressed such issues as the difficulties experienced by the opposition in working for democracy and human rights in Belarus and what the outside world can do to support their work.
The Finnish Parliamentary elections of, which were held on April 17, resulted in a dramatic victory for a populist party, the True Finns, which increased its representation from 4 to 39 seats, and a big defeat for the Center Party of Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi. The leader of the National Coalition Party, which despite losing six seats, Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen is expected to form the new government.