Emigrant external voting in Central-Eastern Europe after EU enlargement

The European Union’s Eastern Enlargement of 2004–2007 triggered a large wave of migration. While the influence of Central-Eastern European (CEE) migrants on Western European politics has been studied, the impact of outward migration and political remittances “sent” by expatriates remain unexplored, despite the salience of democratic backsliding and populist politics in the region. We ask how external voting among migrants differs from electoral results in homelands over time, drawing on an original dataset gathering voting results among migrants from six CEE countries in fifteen Western European host countries. Using models estimated with Bayesian ordinary least squares regression, we test three hypotheses: two related to the disparity of diaspora votes from homeland party systems over time; and one to the ideological leanings of diasporas. We observe a growing discrepancy and note that diaspora votes follow the ideological fluctuations in the country of origin but distort it, with CEE migrants voting for more liberal and more economically right-wing parties than voters ‘at home’.

Kacper Szulecki, Michał Kotnarowski, and Ben Stanley, “Emigrant external voting in Central-Eastern Europe after EU enlargement“, Electoral Studies, 2023.