Another weekend, and another series of interesting election news across the European continent. The Czech republic has gone to the polls for the second time in as many weeks, the Finnish election resulted in a landslide and Cyprus will need a run-off to decide their next president.
Miloš Zeman Wins the Czech Run-Off
In a closely fought election, incumbent president, Miloš Zeman fought off a challenge by Jiří Drahoš. He won with just 52% of the popular vote. Zeman’s victory highlighted a clear divide in the Czech Republic between the largely better educated, ricer urban dwellers and their rural compatriots. City-dwellers generally supported the challenger, Jiří Drahoš. Jiří Drahoš ran on a pro-EU platform and managed to gather significant support among more liberal-minded Czechs.
Zeman’s victory lands a severe blow to the left, largely due to the powers weilded by the President. Miloš Zeman has the final say on all new bills, has the right to appoint judges, and selects board members of the central bank. In addition to these is his ability to name the PM. Indeed, he has already pledged to give the right-wing PM, Andrej Babis, another chance to form a government after recently losing a vote of confidence.
Sauli Niinisto wins a Landslide victory
The Incumbent President of Finland, Sauli Niinisto, has won himself another 6 years in office. The highly popular president is reknown for fostering positive relations with Russia. Indeed, Russian relations are an integral aspect of Finnish politics as they share a 1,340 km border and a troubled history with Russia. While Niinisto supported sanctions against Russia in 2014, he kept a positive relationship with Vladamir Putin.
Although the President helps to decide foreign and defence policy, the post has become largely ceremonial in domestic politics. This means that the presidential role is that of a high-level diplomat. He is ultimately expected to project national foreign policy abroad. Sauli Niinisto is an outspoken supporter of NATO (while remaining a non NATO member) and a proponent of increased EU-defence cooperation.
Inconclusive Result for Cypriot Voters
The polls closed on Sunday evening in Cyprus, with no candidate able to win a majority. A runoff election is set for the 4th of February. The incumbent, Nicos Anastasiades, and Stavros Malas, a former health minister are set to go head-to-head.
As always, we will keep you posted on the latest #Election News from around the world.