Kevin Deegan-Krause

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Kiril Petkov, left, and Assen Vassilev, co-leaders of the We Continue the Change party, celebrate their victory in Bulgaria's parliamentary elections in Sofia on Nov. 14. The newly founded anti-corruption party won the most seats in Bulgaria's parliamentary election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

“Change Continues” is not only the name of the winner of Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Bulgaria, but also a fitting description of a country that has held three elections with three different winners in the last seven months.

Why the electoral churn, and what happens now? First, an inconclusive election in April resulted in an impasse and a caretaker government assembled by the president. Another inconclusive election in July and another caretaker government then led to elections in November.

The winner of the Nov. 14 election, a party founded less than two months ago by two business executives who loudly proclaim their Harvard credentials, is the latest in a string of new parties that have periodically erupted in Bulgaria over the last 20 years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, the leader of ANO party, reacts during a news conference at the party's election headquarters after the country's parliamentary elections in Prague on Oct. 9. (Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)

Last week’s elections may have been the end of an era in the Czech Republic. A populist incumbent billionaire prime minister was defeated, and moderate center-right parties have a clear parliamentary majority, but the handover of power may be stretched out by a president who is doing everything he can to help the outgoing government parties. Here is what happened, and what comes next.

A small swing had big consequences

Czech voting patterns changed only by a few percentage points in last weekend’s election. That was still enough to oust Prime Minister Andrej Babis, the billionaire-turned-politician who founded the ANO (“Yes”) party, which he keeps under tight personal control.…  Seguir leyendo »

Igor Matovic, leader of anti-graft political movement Ordinary People and Independent Personalities, and Slovak President Zuzana Caputova arrive Monday for informal talks after the country's parliamentary election at the presidential palace in Bratislava. (Vladimir Simicek/Afp Via Getty Images)

It’s still hurricane season in European party politics, with plenty of unpredictable results. In Slovakia, the winds blew hard Saturday — the governing parties took a big hit, with two smaller partners losing their representation in parliament entirely and Slovakia’s once-dominant Smer-Social Democracy party suffering major losses.

The clear winner was anti-corruption — not the radical right

Much of the international coverage prior to the election focused on assertions of widespread support for Marian Kotleba’s neo-fascist party. But Kotleba’s Our Slovakia party mustered just 8 percent of the vote. A decline in overall voting for nationalist parties and splintering of the nationalist vote meant Slovakia’s other two prominent nationalist parties failed to win any seats at all.…  Seguir leyendo »

Annotated results of Slovakia's first round of voting for president, held March 16.

On March 16, Slovakia held the first round of voting for its largely ceremonial Slovak presidency, with 13 candidates competing for the slot. Even though the country’s real executive power lies with a prime minister, the presidential election reveals the mood and changing politics of Slovakia. Two candidates are left standing: an anti-corruption crusader and a candidate promoted by the ruling party, Smer. The pair will face-off in the March 30 second round. Here are five takeaways, showing the shape of politics in the country and wider region.

1. It’s not about populism, but about rejecting the elite

Many voters are fed up with the current government’s corruption and scandals.…  Seguir leyendo »

Janez Jansa, right-wing opposition Slovenian Democratic Party leader, right, speaks after casting his ballot at a polling station in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Sunday. (AP)

Although it still feels like hurricane season in European party politics, some parties are clearly able to survive the storm. But winning the vote is just part of the battle.

Here’s what Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Slovenia tell us about anti-migration feelings, personality politics and other factors at play in European elections this year.

1) Anti-migration appeals work — to some extent

As expected, the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) won with 25 percent of the vote. Taking a cue from Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, SDS employed anti-migration rhetoric to great effect. Janez Jansa, the SDS leader for the past quarter-century, portrayed his party as the best defender of Slovenia from migrants and protector of the Slovenian way of life.…  Seguir leyendo »

Czech billionaire Andrej Babis adjusts his tie after meeting with Czech Republic’s president, Milos Zeman, at the Lany Castle in Lany, Czech Republic. (AP)

Czech party politics used to be fairly simple. But since 2010, its elections have repeatedly delivered instability and fragmentation. And this past Sunday’s voting shows 2017 is no exception.

As expected, Andrej Babiš’s party ANO won the Czech elections with nearly 30 percent of the vote. His victory has dominated the headlines in the United States and Europe, but the election also was striking for the collapse of the Social Democrats (ČSSD), the rise of new political forces and a fragmented Parliament with nine parties.

Why did the Social Democrats do so badly?

ČSSD’s share of the vote slumped to 7.3 percent, its worst performance since the early 1990s.…  Seguir leyendo »