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  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The general elections held in Montenegro on 30 August 2020 has once again drawn the attention of the Western Balkans to the smallest, measured by population, among seven nations that emerged after the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This attention is due to a number of factors. Back in May of 2018 Montenegro has opened the last of the thirty-three chapters in the negotiation process with the European Union, making it a harbinger among Western Balkans nations on the path to Euro-Atlantic integrations, especially as the country had joined the North Atlantic Alliance in June 2017. Other countries in the region linger behind Montenegro – Albania and North Macedonia, both NATO members, are still waiting for the opening of the negotiations with the EU. Serbia has no intention to join NATO, and in spite of EU negotiations and ambitions, sees itself in balance between the West on one side, and Russia and China on the other. Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina are far from NATO membership and have merely the status of potential candidates for EU membership. This is why all eyes of the region and of the advocates of continuation of EU enragement policy are on Montenegro. The second factor are strong historical ties of this country on the Adriatic coast with its northern neighbor Serbia. Serbian minority makes up to one third of Montenegro’s population, and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC- Srpska Pravoslavna Crkva) plays a vital role in Montenegrin society, as this country does not have its own autocephalous Church recognized by other Orthodox Churches in Eastern Christendom. This gives Serbia and the SPC a significant clout within borders of its southern neighbor. The third factor is the involvement of global players in this country. The United Sates has advocated strongly to include Montenegro in NATO in order to stretch the line of NATO’s southern flank in the Northern Mediterranean from the Iberian Peninsula to the west to Greece and Turkey in the east. On the other hand, Montenegro’s authorities accused Russia of meddling in the general elections held in October 2016 when the alleged coup d’état occurred on the election day. Many feared a similar scenario on the eve of 30 August 2020 election, fathoming the outbreak of riots and violence that could ignite the powder keg in the Balkans. Although none of these happened, Montenegro is not ceasing to be the subject of the geopolitical chessboard. Considering these factors, the attention of neighbors to the events in this Balkan country is understandable. The unfolding situation after the elections in which the government of Montenegro is backed by a very thin majority in the Parliament (Skupština Crne Gore) and with no clear vision nor strategy for further political and economic development of the country, is only fueling the wariness of its neighbors and of Brussels about Montenegro as a success story.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Elections, European Union, Transition
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans, Montenegro
  • Author: Matteo Cavallaro
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the role of local spending, particularly on social welfare, and local inequality as factors in the Italian political crisis following the adoption in 2011 of more radical national austerity measures. We employ two different methods. First, we develop an original database of municipal budgets. There we show that even the lowest level of social welfare spending, that offered by Italian municipalities, though also hit by austerity, was still able to moderate this national shock. We test three operationalizations of local spending: aggregate current expenditures, aggregate current expenditures on social services, and current expenditures disaggregated by function. We show that municipal current expenditures, particularly on social spending, significantly affected the post-2011 share of votes for the progressive coalition. The results also show that social spending, especially on education, significantly moderated the combined effect of national austerity and the economic crisis on voting for populist radical right parties, while no significant results appeared for populist parties in general. Local inequality appears to significantly enhance vote shares of populist radical right parties and populist parties in general. We caution that, although significant, the effect is not strong: that local policy and economic conditions can moderate national shocks but cannot reverse them. The second analysis relies on survey data to ascertain the individual-level mechanisms behind the role of local welfare. The paper argues that local economic inputs influence voters’ position on non-economic issues. Our results, however, do not identify any significant individual-level channel of transmission, be it cultural or economic.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Inequality, Populism, Austerity
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Ronald Meinardus
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Rarely has an election outcome in Germany been as uncertain as it is today. Berlin’s future policy towards Ankara, and not at least the related refugee issues, especially following the recent developments in Afghanistan, will be one of the topics future coalition partners will need to agree on. The election manifestos of the political parties provide an important source for analyzing the political views of the political actors. All parties criticize the dire situation of human rights and the rule of law in today’s Turkey. While CDU/CSU and the far-right AfD reject a Turkish membership in clear terms, the other parties are less outspoken in this point. Potentially the most consequential divergence as reflected in the electoral programs relates to Germany’s arms export policy and the EU Refugee Agreement of 2016. Unlike the other parties, both the Greens and “Die Linke” want to terminate the migration deal as well as the export of German arms to Turkey.
  • Topic: Migration, Politics, Elections, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Germany, Mediterranean
  • Author: Paul Beckman, Barbara Fulda, Sebastian Kohl
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Traditional predictors of election outcomes in Germany are increasingly losing their explana- tory power. Rather than new cultural divides, this paper introduces the idea of housing cleav- ages, i.e., homeownership versus tenancy and high-price versus low-price areas, drawing on macro data for electoral districts and urban neighborhoods from the last three elections (2009– 2017) in combination with Immoscout24 ad price data and microdata from the ALLBUS sur- vey (1980–2016). Although, due to its low homeownership rate and conservative house price development, Germany represents a least-likely case for housing to be of importance, we find housing effects beyond traditional predictors. Generally, we find that high house prices, house price increases, and homeownership are positively associated with voting for center-right par- ties and voter turnout, while social tenancy is associated with votes for the left, but these effects weaken over time due to embourgeoisement effects. Beyond this expected left-right distinction between tenants and wealthier homeowners, we also find outliers along two other dimensions. First, there are center-periphery effects that housing can better capture than simple geographical divisions; second, house prices contain a populist dimension, for example when skyrocketing rents increase votes for the urban left or regions where house prices lag behind benefit the AfD. The paper argues against the more causal self-interest and socialization theories of the influence of housing on voting and instead suggests considering housing as an important socioeconomic proxy to explain political outcomes.
  • Topic: Elections, Voting, Homeownership , Housing
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Central Europe
  • Author: Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Alexander Lukashenko’s “victory” in the election cannot bridge the gap between the president and the modern part of Belarusian society. Turbulent times may lie ahead for Belarus. This will require the West to revise its current approach and invest more in supporting forces that want reforms and the country’s Europeanization.
  • Topic: Reform, Elections, Europeanization, Transition
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Belarus
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Peopleʼs grievances were not reflected in Russia’s regional elections this year. The Kremlin is reaping the benefits of increasingly blatant electoral fraud and citizensʼ political apathy.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Rigged Elections , Opposition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Pavel Sharikov
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: This paper investigates differences in Russian and American approaches to challenges of the information age, and explores some destabilizing effects on bilateral relations. The governments and societies in Russia and the United States base political and economic decisions about the development and use of information technology on different principles; in a globalized, interconnected world Russia’s collectivistic approach clashes with American individualistic approach. This exacerbates numerous problems in Russia-U.S. relations, including reciprocal allegations of information attacks as a form of interference in domestic affairs. Alternative approaches to information-age dilemmas make Russia and the United States particularly sensitive to different ways of using information technology to impact electoral processes and domestic politics, with little understanding of each other’s narratives and national priorities.
  • Topic: Elections, Information Age, Disinformation, Election Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Erwin van Veen
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: On the eve of the US elections, the nuclear deal (JCPOA) stands on the edge of the precipice. The US strategy of ‘maximum pressure’ has not (yet) achieved its implicit objective of 'regime change' but tanked Iran’s economy, caused its government to dig in and increased regional instability. The geopolitical consequences of US sanctions, EU prevarication and Iran’s deep presence throughout the Middle East have been equally profound. At the global level, they include nudging Iran towards China/Russia, the US alienating its European ‘partners’ and encouraging them to develop greater strategic autonomy. At the regional level, US sanctions risk creating an alternative economic regional order, ensuring Yemen remains a protracted war and making a regional security initiative more necessary, but less likely. It is not yet too late to turn the tide. The focus should now be on reducing regional tensions and especially the stress that sanctions have put on Iran’s population and government. Radical action looks more inviting when one stands against the wall, but the Middle East does not need more conflict than it already has. To do so, the EU should first support Iran with a large-scale Covid-19 humanitarian economy recovery package. As such measures are already sanctions-exempt, they will create few new tensions. An economic initiative should follow that grants preferential access to the EU’s internal market for industrial and agricultural goods from the entire Middle East (for Iran via an upgraded INSTEX). Such interventions will not resolve existing security dilemmas but can show there is an alternative to confrontation.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Sanctions, Nuclear Power, Elections, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Iran, Yemen, United States of America
  • Author: Augustin Palokaj
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: European elections this year, to take place on 23-26 May, are considered to be one of the most important in the history of the European Union. This might sound exaggerated or at least something that has been heard before. But there are many reasons why this time things are different. The EU is at the crossroads, performance, record low unemployment and fewer member states find themselves in economic difficulties or excessive deficit. Trust in the EU and support for membership is increasing among citizens in most member states. However, the general picture remains mixed and any flaw is widely exploited by with mixed picture on the state of the union: divided more than ever on core issues such as common values, solidarity, migration, free movement and the rule of law. On the positive side, however, there is a pretty good economic eurosceptic forces. Many challenges will have to be addressed urgently, starting immediately after the European elections. The results, which will most probably confirm a decline in support for traditional mainstream parties, will affect the election of a new President of the European Commission, a new President of the European Council and other key figures in EU institutions. This time it will not be easy, since many national leaders have questioned the automatic respect for the principle of “Spitzenkandidat” (the lead candidate put forward by the political group able to create a majority in the European Parliament, that becomes the President of the European Commission) and will try to return this power to elect the Commission’s President to the heads of states and governments, with the Parliament expected to rubber-stamp their choice. The Parliament could fight back and this may create a politically motivated power struggle between two major EU institutions.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Elections, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brussels
  • Author: Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, Emanuele Giaufret, Omer Gendler, Noga Arbell, Ariel Shafransky, Eran Etzion, Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: A policy roundtable on the 2019 European Parliament elections results and their possible significance for Europe and Israel took place on 30 May 2019 at Tel Aviv University. It was organized by the Israeli Association for the Study of European Integration (IASEI), Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, the EU Studies Program at Tel Aviv University, and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. The event featured EU Ambassador to Israel H.E. Emanuele Giaufret, Ariel Shafransky and Noga Arbell from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Maya Sion of IASEI, Dr. Nimrod Goren of the Mitvim Institute, former diplomat Eran Etzion, and Omer Gendler of the Open University.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Itai Brun, Tehilla Shwartz Altschuler
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: On April 18, 2019, the US Department of Justice released a redacted version of the full report (448 pages) submitted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller about Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential elections. The report consists of two parts: the first presents the outcome of the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the election and draws conclusions regarding the presence or absence of a conspiracy or illegal coordination between the Russians and the Trump campaign; the second part deals with President Trump’s possible obstruction of justice regarding the FBI investigation into the Russian intervention and the investigation by the Special Counsel himself. This essay deals with the first part, i.e., the results of the investigation into the connection between the Russians and Trump for the purpose of influencing the election results. The report reflects accurately the US criminal law that deals with conspiracy and illegal coordination regarding elections. At the same time, it exposes a gap in the nation’s conceptual, organizational, legal, and technological preparedness to confront the possibilities that the digital space provides to undermine – internally and externally – the democratic process. Israel suffers from the same gap, and it is therefore imperative that the state confront it before the next Knesset election.
  • Topic: Crime, Elections, Election Interference , Investigations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, North America
  • Author: Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Moldovan parliamentary election is not about geopolitical or societal choices; it is about a power grab by oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, and the erosion of pluralism, freedoms and European aspirations under the EU’s watch.
  • Topic: Elections, European Union, Geopolitics, Election watch, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Moldavia
  • Author: Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the momentum for fundamental change that emerged in Ukraine after the Euromaidan revolution of 2014, the incumbent elites were able to safeguard many traditional mechanisms for extending their stay in power and effectively impeded the systemic transformation. After the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2019, Ukraine will face an increased risk of populism and radicalization of the political agenda on the one hand, and apathy and disengagement among the population on the other. In these circumstances, the West should be ready to increase its involvement in Ukraine, but also to step up conditionality in order to influence the behaviour of protectors of the old system, interacting more with the pro-reform constituency in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Elections, Revolution, State Building, Euromaidan Revolution
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Teemu Tammikko
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Whoever wins the Spanish parliamentary elections on 28 April is headed for difficult coalition talks, as the left and the right are still deeply divided, despite the fragmentation of the party system. Small regional parties are likely to gain more weight than their size would suggest.
  • Topic: Elections, Election watch, Local, Party System
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Kremlin is trying to learn lessons from old problems regarding its electoral authoritarian system, but new ones are constantly emerging. At the heart of these is the Kremlin’s party system.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Election watch, Local, Party System
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Marco Siddi, Barbara Gaweda
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Poland’s incumbent party Law and Justice seems poised to win the election thanks to its welfare policies and the weakness of the opposition. However, its attacks on the independence of the judiciary and the media could further erode the rule of law and exacerbate disputes with the EU.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, European Union, Populism, Conservatism, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Along with Vladimir Putinʼs third presidential term, intensified repression has manifested itself in line with the countryʼs increasing economic challenges. The starting point for this political trend was the so-called Bolotnaya Affair in May 2012. Since then, the regime has tightened the screws: non-governmental organizations receiving foreign funding must register as ‘foreign agents’; there are numerous restrictions on the use of the internet, as well as conditions for organizing demonstrations. The regimeʼs policies aim to send signals to the rest of society about the serious consequences that unwanted political and civic activities might cause. However, measures become inflated when the repressive deterrent targets too many. By 2019, along with the changed social mood, unparalleled solidarity against repressive policies, particularly around the regional elections in Moscow, has forced the authorities to retreat from some of their initial repressive goals. The Kremlin duly has to re-evaluate the usage of its repressive deterrent against the political opposition and civil society.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Elections, Repression, Fear, Opposition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Toni Alaranta
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After 17 years of the Islamic-conservative AKP’s electoral hegemony, the secular-nationalist Republican People’s Party (CHP) achieved significant success in the recent municipal elections on March 2019, and is now increasingly challenging President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The secular-nationalist political discourse has traditionally advanced the idea of making Turkey a modern nation-state closely attached to the West, yet the West is also seen as a potential threat. The CHP identifies itself as a social-democratic party, and is now trying to build a wide pro-democratic platform based on a social market economy and fundamental rights. The party’s strong secularist and Turkish nationalist core has made it difficult for the CHP to gain support among the Kurds and religious conservatives, and this remains challenging. Strong nationalism and suspicion about the West are deeply ingrained in Turkey’s political culture. On the other hand, in order to be inherently coherent, the secular-nationalist vision requires an ideological attachment to the Western world. Stemming from these premises, under the CHP’s government, Turkey’s foreign policy would likely prioritize good relations with the West, and re-invigorate the country’s EU prospect.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Hegemony, Elections, Local
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Iris Muraz
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Just one week before the Ukrainian presidential election, this article aims to highlight the main issues at stake in this vote in a country undergoing fundamental political change and marked by five years of undeclared war with Russia. After setting the scene in which the election is taking place, the aim will be to understand the main security, political, social and economic stakes (influence of armed conflict in the Donbass, social reform and expectations, power games between oligarchs) at the heart of the candidates’ electoral strategies. This will help us expose the complex set of interests of both economic and political stakeholders, bearing witness to a highly corrupt political system, which is impeding the implementation of reform in Ukraine initiated in 2014, and contributing to increasing mistrust amongst the population as far as their political elites are concerned. The aim will also be to place this election in the context of wider international mechanisms by analysing the view the EU and Russia have of this election. Finally, particular attention will be given to the role played by Ukrainian civil society in the next electoral cycle (legislative elections in October 2019 and local elections in 2020), and to the initiative of new dynamics in the country since the Revolution of Dignity of 2013-2014.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One of the most significant—and most disturbing—aspects of the Mueller report is the confirmation that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election, based on the Special Counsel’s exhaustive collection and review of intelligence. This campaign by a foreign adversary represents a serious threat to U.S. national security and is reminiscent of Moscow’s actions during the Cold War. As this CSIS Brief highlights, Moscow has long conducted an “active measures” campaign against the United States, including trying to manipulate U.S. domestic politics. U.S. policymakers now need a forceful response to Russia’s intelligence campaign.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Law, Elections, Election Interference , Rigged Elections
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Heather A Conley
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On Friday, May 5, 2017—just two days before the second and final round of the French presidential elections—gigabytes of data hacked from Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign team were released online. Months earlier an orchestrated disinformation campaign against the Macron presidential campaign had already begun. The so-called Macron Leaks—a combination of real emails and forgeries—could have been yet another example of a long list of attempts by Russia to interfere in a high-stakes transatlantic election. But the 2017 French presidential election may be the exception that proves the rule: it is the most clearly failed attempt. The Kremlin neither succeeded in interfering with the presidential election nor in dividing French society. As the United States prepares to hold nationwide elections on November 6, 2018, the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, has already warned in February of this year that “We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States.” Calling Russian influence “pervasive,” Director Coats further noted that “The Russians have a strategy that goes well beyond what is happening in the United States,” he said. “While they have historically tried to do these types of things, clearly in 2016 they upped their game. They took advantage, a sophisticated advantage of social media. They are doing that not only in the United States but . . . throughout Europe and perhaps elsewhere.” Because the United States is not well prepared for future elections, it is necessary to study the past. This is why the 2017 French presidential election is a particularly important election to study and why we highlight French scholar Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer’s groundbreaking report on the Macron Leaks.1 Drawing in part upon the work of CSIS visiting fellow Boris Toucas,2 Vilmer’s forthcoming report will examine what happened during the French presidential election; who orchestrated the affair; how it was successfully countered; and what lessons can be learned. This Brief, which is part of the forthcoming CSIS comprehensive report, sums up the main lessons learned. Myriad structural factors, luck, as well as effective anticipation and reaction by the Macron campaign staff, government and civil society, and especially the mainstream media, combined to successfully resist Russian malign influence.
  • Topic: Intelligence, National Security, Elections, Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, France
  • Author: Erica Shein
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: This report details findings from an Abuse of State Resources Assessment conducted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). As part of a two-year research effort, IFES recently developed a detailed methodology for evaluating a country’s legal framework related to the abuse of state resources (ASR) in elections. Using this methodology, the report draws on detailed desk research as well as a field research mission to BiH in November 2017. Findings are focused on ASR legal provisions, oversight institutions, and enforcement mechanisms. To the extent possible, the report evaluates both the state (national) level of BiH and the entities of the Federation of BiH and Republika Srpska. While in BiH, the team conducted 15 interviews in Sarajevo and Banja Luka with a range of stakeholders. Assessment participants were confident that public awareness of ASR was high. There was general agreement, however, that – more than two decades after the conclusion of a devastating war – the public is largely resigned to accepting such misuses in exchange for peace. The 1995 Dayton Accords that ended the war created a uniquely complex political and electoral structure for the country that remains in place today. This structure creates additional challenges to preventing ASR in campaigns, as ethnic divisions in society are replicated in the political system. Voting blocs are considered pre-determined, so parties representing a particular set of ethnic interests cater to their own constituencies at the expense of broad or programmatic-based coalition building. There is a limited “opposition” willing to advocate against ASR, as essentially all political actors are both beneficiaries and victims of the abuse. This report focuses on three principles for detecting, deterring, and remedying ASR abuses in a manner commensurate with international standards. Principle 1 evaluates the legal framework for addressing three potential avenues for ASR: state personnel, state funds and physical resources, and official government communications. Principle 2 of this report focuses on oversight of the ASR legal framework by independent institutions. Principle 3 of the ASR methodology analyzes the effective enforcement of sanctions and penalties. This report also delves into key contextual features that impact ASR: the public service framework, campaign finance mechanisms, civil society oversight and advocacy, media environment and public information, and public procurement. An overall environment of impunity for perpetrators of the misuse of state resources during elections is further enabled by a variety of factors external to the legal and administrative system, which are explored in this section of the report. The remainder of the report offers a detailed recommendations list and a brief overview of the ASR assessment methodology, as well as an in-depth analysis on each of the areas described above. Based on this analysis, recommendations have been made to strengthen the legal framework with an emphasis on the rights and responsibilities of civil servants, explicitly regulating the use of state funds and other resources, strengthening mandates of oversight and enforcement bodies, creating incentives for improved enforcement, and strengthening weaknesses in the enabling environment that impact ASR.
  • Topic: Corruption, Elections, Voting, Election Interference , State Abuse
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Author: Chad Vickery, Heather Szilagyi
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: he 2016 elections brought into view serious threats to the United States’ (U.S.) electoral process, though much recent attention has focused on cybersecurity and foreign interference. The U.S. has traditionally benefited from high levels of trust in the electoral process and its outcomes, but that inherent trust has been declining in recent years. The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) routinely conducts comprehensive assessments and offers advice on how countries around the world can reform their elections to better align with international standards and best practices. However, more established democracies like the U.S. are rarely scrutinized by the election practitioner community in the same manner.
  • Topic: Elections, Cybersecurity, Foreign Interference, Election Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Nikolaos Stelgias
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Fifteen years since the party’s ascendance in power, AK Parti enters for the first time an electoral race facing several important challenges. Despite the economic crisis and the government’s authoritarian policy, Erdoğan could still win the elections based on his advantages and the weaknesses of the opposition. In the early elections of 24th June, AK Parti could secure the continuation of its power, but in the second round of elections may create interesting balances in the new parliament.
  • Topic: Politics, Authoritarianism, Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Mediterranean
  • Author: Yasmine Bekkouche, Julia Cagé
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: What is the price of a vote? This paper investigates this consequential controversy by analyzing a new comprehensive dataset of all French municipal and legislative elections over the 1993-2014 period. We begin by documenting the evolution of campaign finance in France, and show that both the amount and sources of campaign contributions vary widely from one candidate to another, in particular depending on their political party. We then turn to the empirical analysis and tackle a number of empirical challenges. First, we rely on recent methodological innovations to handle the special characteristics of multiparty data. Second, to overcome the endogenous nature of campaign spending, we propose a new instrument based on a change in legislation. We find that an increase in spending per voter consistently increases a candidate’s vote share both for municipal and legislative elections, and that the effect is heterogeneous depending on the parties and on the sources of campaign funding. According to our estimations, the price of a vote is about 6 euros for the legislative elections, and 32 euros for the municipal ones. Simulations show that small changes in spending patterns and caps can have a large impact on electoral outcomes and seats. Our results suggest that political finance needs to be tightly regulated.
  • Topic: Politics, Reform, Elections, Political Parties, Data, Campaign Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • Author: Hans Martin Sieg
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Since Moldova's November 2014 election, the country's image has changed drastically from the “success story” of the EU´s Eastern Partnership to that of a “captured state.” Moldova's politics continue to be defined by corruption and vested interests, which take advantage of weak state institutions and public administration, an ineffective judiciary and law enforcement agencies. This environment has enabled hostile takeovers of financial companies, often through concealed offshore operations, for criminal purposes, money-laundering schemes and a spectacular banking fraud, which was uncovered in autumn 2014. Low incomes have prompted hundreds of thousands of Moldovans to leave the country in search of a better life. Rivalries for political power, control over institutions, and economic assets have generated growing crises within different ruling coalitions, resulting in rapid changeover in governments, the break-up of major political parties and the formation of new parliamentary majorities with precarious democratic legitimacy. All of these factors have subjected Moldova to an unrelenting series of governmental, economic, financial and social crises since early 2015. The deeper causes of these crises can be traced to much earlier developments, however, and are deeply rooted in local structures.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Development, Economics, Reform, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Moldova, European Union
  • Author: Athanasios Manis
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: There is no doubt that the Turkish referendum of 16 April 2017 marks a sea change for Turkey’s political system. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have narrowly won the referendum that turns his de facto hegemonic presidency into de jure. 51.28% of Turkish citizens approved the 18 proposed constitutional amendments, while 48.72% opposed them. However, the provisions of the constitutional amendments and the statements made by the main political protagonists and antagonists give little hope that the referendum result will bring political stability or economic prosperity; or allow Turkey’s leadership to play a constructive role in Syria and Iraq - at least in the short-term. Furthermore, it is unlikely to enhance the level of cooperation with the EU and the US over the war against the Islamic State (IS) and the refugee crisis.
  • Topic: Elections, European Union, Democracy, Geopolitics, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: As Serbia braces itself for the presidential election on 2nd April 2017, the international community �inds itself puzzled with the prospect of future political orientation of this Balkan country. The biggest republic of ex-Yugoslavia, Serbia still bears the burden of the wars in the nineties, unde�ined relations with Kosovo and NATO bombing of 1999, due to which the country is still somewhat cautious toward Euro-Atlantic integration and the United States. It seems that Serbia seeks to join the European Union (EU), and at the same time to foment its relation with its traditional ally, the Russian Federation. In that respect, the current trends of foreign policy in Serbia are also visible in other Balkan countries, namely Macedonia and Montenegro, which like Serbia have strong links to their big Orthodox patron in the East, while striving to make progress on the path to the EU. This dichotomy between pro-European and pro-Russian forces in Serbia was exacerbated to a new level with Brexit and stalemate in the EU enlargement process, growing Russian in�luence in the region and expectations in Serbia that the newly inaugurated US president Donald Trump will bring a thaw in relations with Russia and allow a regionally more dominant Serbia, while curbing ambitions of Kosovar Albanians. This dichotomy has created a division in the country torn between its Western and Eastern ambitions that is visible in many aspects of Serbian society, candidates bare hallmark, or in Obradović, the leader of the Serbian Movement Dveri (Srpski pokret Dveri) is a clear example of a pro-Russian politician in Serbia, while independent candidate SašaJanković represents the voice of a civil and pro-European Serbia. The rest of the presidential candidates are positioned on a wide spectrum dividing Obradović and Janković, thus contributing to the rather short but at the same time very electri�ied presidential campaign.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Elections, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Over the course of past twelve months, Europe was holding its breath in a couple of nerve wrecking moments that were to decide the destiny of the European Union (EU). Indeed, in June last year the British cast their votes for the unimaginable and decided that the United Kingdom (UK) should leave the EU. Shockwaves battered the woozy continent sprawling from over the other side of the English Channel, and it was the President of the European Parliament, incumbent German SPD leader Martin Schulz who exclaimed in the wake of the Brexit vote that the UK should exit the EU as quickly as possible. Just four months later Europe experienced another shockwave, this time propelled from the other side of the Atlantic, as the Americans voted for Donald Trump, who was in support of Brexit during his campaign, advocating overtly against the European integration and even renouncing the fundament of Trans-Atlantic integration - NATO. The beginning of 2017 set a murky atmosphere as the EU started to brace itself for another big test in France. The victory of Emmanuel Macron in May meant that the EU would survive, albeit crippled as the Britons lead by Theresa May continued relentlessly their divorce with Europe by triggering the Article 50 in March. With the British already one foot out, and the French �irmly in the Union, the attention of the European public is shifting more to Germany which will hold the federal election on September 24th this year. After the disappointing break away decision in Britain, some Europeans seem to invoke a renewed Franco-German axis as the power engine of European integration. Since the great economic depression swept Europe like a contagion in 2008, Germany has been the best performing European economy, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel was perceived as the “savior of Europe”. Due to these facts, it is no wonder that all of Europe eagerly expects the outcome of the German federal election which will largely determine the fate of the continent.
  • Topic: Elections, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, Western Europe
  • Author: Sebastian von Münchow
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Three days after Germany’s Parliamentary Elections in late September 2017, Dirk Kurbjuweit, Deputy Chief Editor of Hamburg-based leading weekly magazine Der Spiegel wrote: “The days of Germany as a global power are probably numbered. (Those days) started with the refugee crisis in 2015 [...] and had their best moments after the election of Donald Trump as US president.” He continues: “[...] the election results on Sunday ended this new high. For a liberal abroad, Germany was foremost a moral super power due to its refugee policies.”
  • Topic: Elections, Refugees, Political stability, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Mieke Eoyang, Evelyn Farkas, Ben Freeman, Gary Ashcroft
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: In this paper, we argue that Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election is just one part of a wide-ranging effort by Moscow to undermine confidence in democracy and the rule of law throughout countries in the West. Russia has engaged in this effort because, in both economic and demographic terms, it is a declining power – the only way it can “enhance” its power is by weakening its perceived adversaries. Because Russia’s aim is to erode the health of Western nations, we argue it is time for America and its allies to employ a comprehensive, non-kinetic response to contain Russia.
  • Topic: Security, Elections, Cybersecurity, Democracy, Foreign Interference, Election Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Zurab Gaiparashvili
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: First Universal Democratic Elections in Independent Georgia offers a detailed overview of the first national democratic elections conducted in the Republic of Georgia in 1919. These elections served as an acknowledgement of Georgia's independence, which gave it autonomy for the next three years. The book portrays the spirit of multiculturalism being practiced in the lead up to and during the elections, through the development of campaign materials in several languages, such as Georgian, Farsi, Armenian and Russian, as well as allocating special quotas. It also reflects on how various ethnic groups were encouraged to represent their respective communities, with the participation of the Greek’s Democratic Party in elections offered as an example. The first democratic elections proved to be successful in creating gender parity for women and men of Georgia. Other impressive aspects of these elections were how well structured reimbursement procedures were developed for parties and other procedures were conducted professionally, practicing the principles of equality, accessibility and accountability. The book enables readers to get an insight into how Georgia’s newly established government tried to embark on an endeavor to build a democratic state, which would ensure prosperity and equality for its people. It also sheds a light on how advanced Georgian state bodies were in the first half of the 20th century, as the country strived for independence and development while being surrounded by the Russian and Ottoman empires. Representation and engagement of women and ethnic minority groups also serves as a best practice for that period. The book offers a wide range of visual materials, which provide a better understanding of processes and circumstances of not just elections, but the general political situation in the country and contains documentary materials and historical photos.
  • Topic: Multiculturalism, Elections, Democracy, Diversity
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Erica Shein, Chad Vickery, Heather Szilagyi, Julia Brothers
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: his report details findings from an IFES Abuse of State Resources Assessment conducted in Georgia following October 2016 elections. This assessment served as the pilot test of the Abuse of State Resources Research and Assessment Framework assessment methodology, which was researched, developed, and peer-reviewed under the Global Elections and Political Transitions mechanism supported by the United States Agency for International Development. Using this methodology, the report draws on detailed desk research as well as a field research mission to Georgia in May 2017. Findings are focused on abuse of state resources (ASR) legal provisions, oversight institutions and enforcement mechanisms. ASR violations are a consistent feature of national and municipal elections in Georgia, and assessment interlocutors see the participation of civil servants in campaign activities as one of the most significant challenges. Also of concern is the perceived over-staffing of public service departments and legal entities of public law, especially at the local level. This report aims to provide actionable recommendations for improving the ASR environment in Georgia. The report focuses on three principles for detecting, deterring and remedying ASR abuses in a manner commensurate with international standards. Principle 1 evaluates the legal framework for addressing three potential avenues for ASR: state personnel, state funds and physical resources, and official government communications. Principle 2 focuses on oversight of the ASR legal framework by independent institutions. Principle 3 analyzes the effective enforcement of sanctions and penalties. The methodology applied for this assessment also acknowledges the need to account for contextual factors may impact the ASR in elections. As such, the report provides a narrative overview of challenges related to the public service framework, campaign finance framework, civil society oversight and advocacy, media environment and public information, and public procurement in Georgia. Based on in-depth analysis of each of the areas described above, the report offers detailed recommendations to strengthen the legal framework with an emphasis on clarifying the rights and responsibilities of civil servants, ensuring that ASR sanctions and penalties achieve a deterrent effect, and clarifying mandates of oversight and enforcement bodies.
  • Topic: Corruption, Elections, Voting, Election Interference , Rigged Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eurasia, Eastern Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Bledar Feta
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: In Working Paper 88/2017 of ELIAMEP’s South East Europe Programme, Research Associate Bledar Feta deals with the political situation in Kosovo. More specifically, the paper attempts to provide the main aspects of the political and institutional crisis that hit Kosovo after Parliamentary elections of June 8th, 2014. The aim of the paper, besides giving an overview of the most important developments since then, is to provide an analysis on the attempts of Kosovar political class to establish a stable government putting under the microscope their political behaviour. In addition, the paper deals with the last parliamentary elections, as well as the new government’s priorities, the challenges ahead and the key policy issues which remain a major talking point in the political and public debate, polarizing opposition, the coalition government and the public opinion in general.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: With the Presidential Elections coming closer, the global attention is shifting more and more to the United States. During the terms of George W. Bush, especially during his second tenure, the image of the US as an untouchable superpower was somewhat mitigated. In 2001 the US witnessed the largest attack on its territory since Pearl Harbor and military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq took a heavy toll in human lives and material and �inancial expanses. Upon this, the campaign in Iraq had no legal foundation, and that caused a rift with the European allies, especially with two big continental powers Germany and France, and the consequences are still largely felt to date. The legitimacy and the credibility of the US as the global strong leader was further watered down with the �inancial crunch originating on Wall Street, spilling over to the rest of the world, especially the European Union (EU). At the moment when American image and credibility hit the ground, the White House saw a new president Barack Obama, the �irst African American to sit in the Oval Of�ice. In the internal policy, Obama’s two terms saw the American economy gaining an undisputed strength. Unemployment rate and de�icit were cut in half, exports and the dollar were on the hike, just like the GDP growth and the real estate market. Obama’s foreign policy showed to be much more diplomatic and arguably more ef�icient than that of the Bush administration.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Elections, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, North America, Washington, D.C.
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Montenegro has yet again drawn the attention of the European public during the general election on 16 October. On election day many irregularities were recorded and several incidents occurred, including an alleged coup attempt, as the big question loomed over the country: Is Montenegro still going to be ruled by the same man, the incumbent Prime Minister Milo Đukanović who has been in power for over a quarter of a century, as president and Prime Minister during four terms, with just two short periods of ‘retirement’ when he actually pulled strings behind people loyal to him? Montenegrin opposition was quite adamant in their demand that Đukanović has to leave the political scene of Montenegro after twenty-�ive years of almost undisputed rule. The four major opposition parties in Montenegro, the Democratic Front (DF – Demokratski Front), the Key Coalition (Ključ), the Democratic Montenegro (DCG – Demokratska Crna Gora) and the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDP – Socijaldemokratska Partija Crne Gore), have all decided that they would not make coalition agreements with the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS – Demokratska Partija Socijalista Crne Gore) presided over by Milo Đukanović and help him by any means to form a government. The DPS managed to win 41% of the votes on 16 October and consequently 36 seats in the 81 seat Parliament, and they needed �ive more mandates to form the government. At its �irst session after the election Montenegro’s Parliament was inaugurated on 7 November, just days after Milo Đukanović unexpectedly stepped down as the DPS’s candidate for the new Prime Minister, leaving the place to Duško Marković, the party’s Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro. Montenegro is expected to join NATO next year as the rati�ication process should end by spring 2017, and the country has so far opened 24 chapters in negotiations to access the European Union, but it is still not clear whether this process would be tempered by the current unstable political situation.
  • Topic: Elections, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans, Montenegro
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: During the 2016 primaries, Donald Trump claimed he had more foreign policy experience than any of the GOP contenders. In fact, he has traveled widely to meet with presidents, prime ministers, financiers, and developers over the past decade as part of his highly profitable business of licensing the Trump name to large real estate developments around the world. On the campaign trail, Trump’s provocative statements about foreign policy have become part of the public record. From pressuring NAFTA members to bombing ISIS, his pledges have caused a stir in the arena of foreign relations. Publicly, candidate Trump threatened to close borders to Mexicans, slap tariffs on Chinese goods, restrict Muslims in the United States, among other vows. Without a record of public service to draw on, it is difficult to know how these declarations might translate into a Trump foreign policy. To understand what lies ahead for the new president, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs asked its Faculty Associates in international relations to comment on the challenges and opportunities that await in five regions of the world: Africa, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Latin America, Europe, and China.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Elections, ISIS, NAFTA
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Gary Soroka
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The European Union faces enormous challenges, including flows of refugees, economic stagnation, terrorism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry and the rise of the far right, the Brexit. Strong leadership is needed but it is in short supply. Germany is the most capable, but it too has domestic problems that are preoccupying the political class, not least the prospect of a federal election next year. Despite all this, the country has shouldered its growing responsibilities in recent years with a new confidence and no one should underestimate what they can achieve.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Elections, European Union, Brexit, Xenophobia
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Beom-Shik Shin
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: Vladimir Putin who cautiously entered the Kremlin upon his inauguration in March 2000 is now returning to the presidential office with more craft and determination this May 2012. Going by the announcements of Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC), Putin received 63.75% of the votes, defeating Gennady Zyuganov (17.19%), Mikhail Prokhorov (7.82%), Vladimir Zhirinovsky (6.23%), Sergey Mironov (3.85%) and others to become the next president of the Russian Federation. It had been predicted that Putin would either win by a narrow margin after the second round of voting receiving around 40% of the votes, or he would have had an easy victory receiving around 50% of the votes. His victory though was an overwhelming one, with nearly 64% of the votes. There were controversies nevertheless regarding election fraud. The international election monitoring team dispatched by Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) raised concerns over a number of issues such as questions over the neutrality of Vladimir Churov, the chair of CEC and restrictive media regulations for opposition candidates. Despite these concerns, it would be virtually impossible for opposition candidates to overturn the results. In expectation of such controversies, the Russian government made efforts to minimize criticism of election fraud by installing webcams in ballot boxes. However, rectifying the lack of a fair judgment system should be regarded as a task of utmost urgency if Russia’s election system is to develop. Still, the disputes over election fraud will go on for some time as will the street demonstrations against Putin that appeared after his victory.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Leadership, Rigged Elections
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe