Right-wing VMRO-DPMNE could snatch the electoral victory from pro-European SDSM in the recent elections in North Macedonia

The general elections in North Macedonia on July 15th reveal no obvious winner: the center-left Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and its alias (We Can coalition) secured 46 parliamentary seats out of 120, while its closest rival, the Renewal coalition led by the center-right to right-wing Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) has won 44 seats. SDSM, despite its recent success in progressing NATO and EU-accession talks, is facing a backlash from a fraction of voters disappointed by the change of the name of the country to North Macedonia and the delay in reforming the country’s judiciary system after the recent corruption scandal involving SDSM officials.

We consider the following constraints in the government formation process. The Albanian minority interests Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), the 3d largest political party with 15 seats, retains its kingmaker status: the party considers an alliance with both SDSM- and VMRO-DPMNE-led coalitions and may be decisive for shaping the future government. Moreover, a coalition of the two leading parties is not fully excluded and could be the only way to form government without DUI. 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

Parliamentary seats (bar size) vs. strategic influence of political parties (red lines)
Predicted government coalitions (white line denotes the level of stability)

The most stable (most likely) government formation scenario implies a VMRO-DPMNE-led government in coalition with DUI and the Alliance for Albanians (AA). The less likely alternative involves a coalition between SDSM and DUI or SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE. DUI may prefer the alliance with VMRO-DPMNE, as it can expect a higher share of power in that coalition.

After the Basque election, PSE likely to form left-wing government with EH Bildu and Podemos

Regional parliament elections in the Basque Country took place on July 12th, 2020, showing one of the lowest turnout rates historically. The situation is complicated by the new cases of COVID-19, as the outbreak in the region has not been tackled completely, and a ban for voters with confirmed and suspected diagnosis to participate in the elections.

The Basque National Party (PNV), the leader of the current Basque government, also remains the most widely supported political party according to the elections results (31 out of 75 parliamentary seats). Its coalition partner, the Socialist Party of the Basque Country-Basque Country Left (PSE-EE), scores the 3d after leftist and pro-independence Euskal Herria Bildu (EH Bildu), which secured 22 seats. PSE-EE is the regional affiliate of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) led by Pedro Sánchez, the current prime minister of Spain. Right-wing Vox is taking part in the Basque region elections for the first time, and was able to secure 1 seat in the regional parliament.

To provide our forecast of government formation, we consider the following constraints. The center-right alliance of People’s Party and Citizens (PP+Cs) excludes cooperation with left-wing Elkarrekin Podemos (EP-IU) and EH Bildu. PNV and EH Bildu, despite some common ground in advocating Basque national interests, have pronounced economic and social disagreements. The ultra-right Vox is incompatible with the left-wing political parties. Based on these constraints and the election results we provide our forecast.

Constraints in coalition formation

Proportion of parliamentary seats (bar size) vs. strategic influence of political parties (red lines)
Predicted government coalitions (white line denotes the level of stability)

Most stable (most likely) coalition formations scenario implies a left-wing government led by PSE-EE in cooperation with EP-IU and EH Bildu. A renewal of the current PNV – PSE-EE coalition constitutes a less likely alternative to the left-wing government. However, this time PSE-EE may take the lead, as it may have a power to choose between the two feasible coalitions.

HDZ, the winning party in the Croatian elections, is likely to form the new government

The center-right Croatian Democratic Movement (HDZ), who is believed to have managed the COVID-19 crisis well, has won the parliamentary elections in Croatia on July 5th, 2020, securing 66 out of 151 seats. This outcome proved somewhat unexpected as the recent polls projected almost equal support of HDZ and the Restart coalition, led by its long-standing rival, the central-left Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP), which received only 41 seats – one of the worst results since the 1990s. The right-wing Homeland Movement (DPMS) comes third in the elections with 16 parliamentary seats.

We consider the following constraints in coalition formation. In 2017, the center-right Bridge of Independent Lists (Most) left the governing coalition with HDZ, as some of the HDZ members were accused of tempering financial statements of Agrokor, a major Croatian agribusiness conglomerate, which went insolvent and filed for state support. The cooperation between these two parties is, therefore, excluded in our analysis.

A joint coalition between DPMS and HDZ is not excluded, as DPMS remains the only opportunity for HDZ to form a right-wing government. The cooperation may not be established easily, though, as DPMS allows anti-Serb, anti-minority, anti-gender equality rhetoric, which historically right-wing HDZ now tries to avoid. Moreover, HDZ enjoyed the support of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) in the past, which DPMS excludes.

Finally, a coalition between HDZ and SDP also remains a viable option, as the two parties conducted government formation talks in the past. Based on these constraints and the results of the current polls we present our forecast of government formation in Croatia.

Constraints in coalition formation
Projected seats (bar size) vs. strategic influence of political parties (red lines)

Predicted government coalitions (white line denotes the level of stability)

The most stable (and the most likely) scenarios imply an HDZ-dominated government, which also includes minorities and smaller parties. Coalitions with Restart or DPMS are also possible, but are less likely, as they imply that HDZ will have to give up a higher share of power.