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Articles in Europe

Cyprus: Between East and West?

By Claire Negiar | April 10, 2014 | 14 Comments

(Note: This is the second of two articles by Stanford student Claire Negiar that together contrast the situations of two geopolitically divided islands: Saint Martin and Cyprus)
Cyprus and Saint Martin – two very different islands sharing one key property: both are split by their “mother countries,” Greece and Turkey in the case of Cyprus, France and the Netherlands in the …

Geographical Patterns in the German Federal Election of 2013

By Martin W. Lewis | September 28, 2013 |

The recent German federal election has been widely heralded as a major victory for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union party (along with its regional sister party, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria). Taking almost 42 percent of the vote and nearly half of the seats in the Bundestag, Merkel’s center-right party had its best showing in almost …

Explaining the Rapid Rise of the Xenophobic Right in Contemporary Europe

By James Mayfield | July 22, 2013 | 258 Comments
Copyright James Mayfield

The last three decades have witnessed a remarkable rise in xenophobic, deeply conservative, and even extreme right-wing parties across much of Europe. Whereas thirty years ago most xenophobic parties failed to even pass the 5% minimum voter threshold that is typically required to enter government, they now constitute as much as ~28% of the parliament in countries like Austria, and arguably have reached the ~70% level in Hungary. Hoping to understand these surprising changes in the European political climate, this post will briefly analyze the characteristics of the xenophobic right as of 2013, underscore the diversity of xenophobic parties, and try to explain some of the patterns encountered when the far-right takes hold, as well as their exceptions.

Misleading Murder and Rape Maps, and the Sweden Rape Puzzle

By Martin W. Lewis | May 25, 2013 | 15 Comments

The previous post on murder rates in Brazil featured a Wikipedia map of homicide rate by country, based on a 2011 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). That map, reproduced here, is less than ideal, as its highest category lumps together countries with hugely different homicide rates, ranging from 20.1 per 100,000 in Kyrgyzstan to …

Changing Geographical Patterns in British Elections?

By Martin W. Lewis | April 25, 2013 | 13 Comments

An interesting article in this week’s Economist examines Britain’s north/south electoral divide. The south, baring London, habitually votes for the Conservative Party, whereas the north generally opts for Labour. The article, quoting John Hobson, traces the division back to the 1800s, when a “southern ‘Consumers England’ of leisurely suburbs” was opposed to “a northern ‘Producers England’ of mills and mines.” …

Mapping the 2013 Swiss Referendum: Executive Compensation

By Martin W. Lewis | March 23, 2013 | 11 Comments

In the Swiss referendum of 2013, voters overwhelming approved a measure to limit executive compensation. Despite the fact that opponents outspent proponents 40 fold, and despite warning that the move would “undermine the country’s investor-friendly image,” 68 percent of voters approved the initiative.
As specified by the Wikipedia, the measure will:

require an annual vote by shareholders for the president and other …

Geographical Patterns in the 2013 Swiss Election, Part I

By Martin W. Lewis | March 22, 2013 |

A three-part referendum held in Switzerland in early March received minimal press attention. Some media reports noted the passage of a measure to restrict executive compensation, but the family policy initiative was virtually ignored, as was the one on land-use planning. Today’s post briefly considers the family policy issue, whereas tomorrow’s will look at the executive compensation measure.
The Swiss election …

French Wine Consumption and Other Intriguing Maps from Vintage Printables

By Martin W. Lewis | March 5, 2013 | One Comment

In conducting a simple internet search for geopolitical maps, I was surprised to see multiple returns of a map of French wine consumption in 1873. The map in question is found on a site called “Vintage Printable,” which aims to:

provide free, public domain/out-of-copyright images for you to print or download. Most of the images are vintage naturalist or scientific illustration, …

Election Returns and Economic Development in Italy

By Martin W. Lewis | February 28, 2013 | One Comment

In considering the recent Italian election, it might instructive to compare the regional returns with levels of economic development. In order to do so, I constructed a map of Italian per capita Gross Domestic Product by region. The information is dated: the most recent I could easily find is from 2008, courtesy of the Wikipedia. But as the Italian economy …

Changing Italian Voting Patterns?

By Martin W. Lewis | February 27, 2013 | 3 Comments

The recently completed 2013 Italian General Election has been avidly discussed in the international media. The contest failed to produce a clear winning coalition in the senate, resulting in a hung parliament. It also saw the eclipse of the centrist, technocratic, austerity-oriented party of Prime Minister Mario Monti, which received only about 10 percent of the vote nationwide, as well …

Geographical Patterns in the Czech Presidential Election

By Martin W. Lewis | February 13, 2013 | 9 Comments

The president of the Czech Republic occupies a largely ceremonial position, with little real power. The country’s recent presidential election, however, was a hotly contested and closely watched contest, in part because it was the first time that the office was filled through a direct election. Also of significance was the issue of historical memory, focusing on Czech relations with …

Military Conscription and Austrian Electoral Geography

By Martin W. Lewis | February 11, 2013 | 6 Comments

Note to Readers: The invaluable website Electoral Geography 2.0: Mapped Politics  has posted a number of interesting electoral maps over the past several months while GeoCurrents focused on linguistic issues. For the next week or two, we will examine several of these maps in detail, beginning with the portrayal of a seemingly minor but nonetheless intriguing election, the Austrian Conscription …

Local Elections Conclude in Bosnia and Herzegonvina

By Nicholas Baldo | October 10, 2012 | 2 Comments

Preliminary results are in for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s October 7th local elections. The elections went smoothly and without irregularities, but many fear that the results may fan the flames of ethno-nationalism and separatism in the fragile country’s political discourse.

Bavarian Separatism and the Franconian Issue

By Martin W. Lewis | September 28, 2012 | 6 Comments

Bavarian separatism, a long-standing if still rather minor political movement, is finally getting some attention in the global media, thanks to the recent publication of Bayern kann es auch allein (or Bavaria Can Also Go It Alone), a book described by Canada’s Maclean’s as a “191-page polemic covering a range of standard Bavarian complaints about the present German (and European) political order and a paean to the benefits and glories that await an unfettered Free State of Bavaria.”

Catalan Secession Looming?

By Martin W. Lewis | September 25, 2012 |

Fear are mounting that Spain will face a new secession crisis after the government of Catalonia called for a snap election on November 25, which is widely seen as a referendum on enhanced autonomy if not outright independence. The move came shortly after the Madrid government rejected Catalonia’s demand for greater autonomy on taxation issues. Desire for political separation is growing in the region, as evidenced by massive (600,000+) pro-independence demonstrations in Barcelona earlier this month.

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