North Macedonia may be remaining on the European track after the snap elections in April

North Macedonia seems to be approaching a significant milestone defining further development of the country: as the talks about EU accession stall, its prime minister, Zoran Zaev from the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), resigns allowing the future of the country to be decided in the snap elections on April 12th. Meanwhile, the EU talks complications give rise to the right-wing powers within the country.

According to the polls dated Novermber-December 2019, social-democratic SDSM and center-right to right-wing Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) are the leading political forces in North Macedonia. At the same time, the Albanian minority interests Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), the junior partner in the current SDSM-led coalition, refuses to exclude the possibility of coalition with VMRO-DPMNE in hopes to achieve a kingmaker status in the coming government formation process. The Left (Levica) criticizes both major parties (SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE) and rules out cooperation with them. Based on these constraints and the current polls, we present our forecast of government formation in North Macedonia:



Constraints in coalition formation
Projected seats vs. strategic influence of political parties




Predicted government coalitions
White dot denotes stability coefficient

With the considered level of electoral support of the political parties, the most stable (the most likely) government formation scenario implies an SDSM-led government in coalition with smaller players: Albanian minority parties Besa Movement (Besa), Alliance for Albanians (AA), the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), conservative Democratic Alternative (DA) and other smaller parties. In this scenario SDSM is able to avoid the need for cooperation with DUI or with less likely VMRO-DPMNE, however, the feasibility of this coalition depends on the actual elections outcome (whether the smaller players can secure enough parliamentary seats). Second most stable scenario involves VMRO-DPMNE, DUI and AA.

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Who will lead the new government in Ireland?

With general elections in Ireland approaching rapidly (February 8th, 2020), the uncertainty increases, as none of the political parties has a definite potential to lead the new government. According to the January seat projection provided by RTÉ, neither of the two major Irish parties, Fine Gael (FG) or Fianna Fáil (FF), both liberal-conservative, have a strong advantage in forming the new cabinet. FG, which has secured the post of Taoiseach, the head of government in Ireland, in the two last election cycles, is losing support, while the left-wing Irish republican Sinn Féin (SF) has gained ground.

Since the 1930s either FG or FF has been leading the Irish government in cooperation with minor coalition partners. For now, FF has the strongest results in terms of the projected seats, but FG follows closely, which means that either still have a chance to secure the Taoiseach post depending on the election results. Even though none of these two parties demonstrates a clear advantage in this election cycle, they still rule out cooperation with SF. Based on this constraint, we present our forecast of the outcome of the government formation process in Ireland.


Constraints in coalition formation


Projected seats vs. strategic influence of political parties


Predicted government coalitions

The most stable coalition scenario implies a government led by FF in coalition with the Green, Labour and other smaller parties and independent candidates. The other scenario that might be realized is a coalition of FF and FG, which in the case of Ireland, where these two parties have never governed together, could mean a minority government led by FF and supported by FG.

A further opportunity for either FF or FG could lie in the revision of the commitment to not cooperate with SF, however, at this moment none of the key parties seem to be ready to resort to it.

Update (February 11th, 2020)

Constraints in coalition formation
Projected seats vs. strategic influence of political parties
Predicted government coalitions

After the great success in the elections left-wing Sinn Féin (SF), who secured 37 seats (only one seat below the largest party Fianna Fáil (FF)), has the chance to form the new government. The potential coalition includes Green Party (GP) and independent MPs in combination with two parties out of Social Democrats (SD), Labour Party (LP), or Solidarity-People Before Profit (SPBP). While SF is expected to secure the prime-minister seat, most of the other ministries are projected to be distributed among its coalition partners.

Our analysis shows that coalition formation scenarios involving FF or Fine Gael (FG) are also plausible, but less stable.