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Tag Archives: current-affairs

Belarus election: Europe’s ‘last dictator’ claims victory, but change is in the air

Alexander Lukashenko was reelected as President of Belarus on 9 August, but the result of the election has been disputed, with thousands of people taking part in demonstrations across the country. Balki Begumhan Bayhan argues that despite the result, there is now a clear sense of change in the air. Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian leader of Belarus who came to power in 1994, has won his sixth presidential election. The preliminary results show a landslide victory, giving Lukashenko 80%...

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What the Basque and Galician elections told us about the state of regional and national politics in Spain

Elections were held in the Basque Country and Galicia on 12 July. Jonathan Parker assesses what the results told us about regional and national politics in Spain. He writes that although the incumbent governments won re-election in both cases, there were some notable surprises hidden beneath the surface. On 12 July, elections to the parliaments of the Spanish autonomous communities of the Basque Country and Galicia finally took place, having been delayed four months by the Covid-19 pandemic....

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Why it’s wrong to expect science to provide rapid, definitive answers about Covid-19

People are keen to find out about the latest scientific work on the pandemic – but they do not always understand that research is a slow process and the findings can only be provisional. Zubeyde Demircioğlu says public frustration will lead to distrust and a surge in conspiracy theories unless scientists are clear that, at this early stage, much remains uncertain. In uncertain times like pandemics, people want to access information quickly so they can interpret the confusing situation around...

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This time I’m (not) voting: How campaign factors affect European citizens’ turnout in EP elections

Turnout in European Parliament elections declined in every vote held between 1979 and 2014. Ahead of the 2019 elections, the EU launched an initiative, ‘This time I’m voting’, in the hope of raising public interest. While turnout did increase in the 2019 contest, it remains an open question as to whether such campaign efforts help mobilise citizens. Drawing on a new study, Franziska Marquart, Andreas C. Goldberg and Claes H. de Vreese assess the role of individuals’ passive exposure to and...

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How the Rassemblement National is using local government to ‘mainstream’

Despite making significant electoral gains over the past decade, the French Rassemblement National remains excluded from power due to its extremist reputation. Examining its showcase town of Hénin-Beaumont, Fred Paxton and Timothy Peace show how the party is using the local level of government to ‘mainstream’ and project a more competent, government-ready image. Populist radical right parties are increasingly in positions of power, inspiring much scholarly interest into the mainstreaming...

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How the UK’s trade deals will impact healthcare access across Europe

How might the negotiations over the future UK-EU relationship affect healthcare access? Drawing on a new research briefing, Matt Wood provides a detailed assessment of the impact UK-EU and UK-US trade agreements may have on healthcare across Europe. Protecting health and healthcare was one of the key issues during the EU referendum in 2016, and now, with the coronavirus crisis still ongoing, it is a crucial part of the trade negotiations. Our new research briefing for UK in a Changing Europe...

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Economic inequality generates selective solidarity that penalises immigrants

What relationship is there between economic inequality, immigration, and public support for redistributive policies? Presenting findings from a new study, Gabriele Magni writes that economic inequality triggers selective solidarity: when inequality is high, individuals grow more supportive of redistribution – but only if redistribution benefits native citizens. Economic inequality has reached its highest level in thirty years in advanced industrial societies. Inequality raises the stakes of...

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The UK labour market and Covid-19: How to measure excess, where to look for it, and what it shows

Think the outlook for the UK labour market in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic looks bad? But just how bad? And along which dimensions? Jonathan Wadsworth answers these questions. He concludes that the crisis was marked by higher absences from work as well as a large rise in short-time working and hiring freezes, not by wage cuts and mass layoffs.  In a rapidly evolving crisis, there is a need for timely information to assess labour market performance and develop strategies to address the...

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Who are Vox, and who are their voters?

The populist radical right party Vox has emerged as a major force in Spanish politics, but what characterises the party and its voters? Drawing on a new study, José Rama, Stuart J. Turnbull-Dugarte and Andrés Santana present a comprehensive assessment of the party’s ideological makeup and the key features of its electoral base. Since the emergence of Vox in the December 2018 Andalusian elections, at least two questions have been crucial for those interested in political parties and electoral...

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Has Covid-19 proved a crisis too far for Europe’s far-right outsiders?

Populist radical right parties made electoral gains in several countries across Europe following the financial and migration crises. Yet as Georgios Samaras writes, Covid-19 poses an altogether different challenge that Europe’s populist outsiders have so far largely failed to rise to. In recent years, far-right political parties in Europe have capitalised on crises to build their support bases. Many have made it to positions of power as a result of these efforts. The financial crisis of 2008,...

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