By Kayhan Gul, Talha Ozturk
BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) - Austria's upcoming general ballot will open election season in Europe on Sunday for 12 countries to go to the polls by the end of the year.
In addition to Austria, there will be general elections in Portugal, Kosovo, Poland, Switzerland, Spain and Belarus. Meanwhile, presidential elections will be held in Romania and Croatia while local elections are due in Bulgaria and Hungary.
Also, Germany will hold elections for the state council in Thuringia.
While many countries prepare to go to polls, there are some countries with uncertainties due to the ongoing political crisis.
The election season in Europe will open with Austria this weekend. Following the collapse of the country's 17-month far-right coalition, Voters will cast their ballots on Sunday.
No pre-election party is likely to come to power on its own, while a second far-right coalition government is expected to be formed after the election.
According to pre-election polls, where approximately 6.4 million will vote, the Austrian People's Party (OVP) led by Sebastian Kurz is post popular, while the Social Democratic Party (SPO) ranks second and the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) is third.
If the polls indeed reflect election results, the center-right MTP and the far-right FP can re-establish a coalition.
- Early elections in Kosovo
The European election marathon will continue in Kosovo after Austria.
Kosovo decided to hold snap elections after Prime Minister Ramus Haradinaj stepped down in July because he was summoned for alleged war crimes by a special tribunal in the Hague for his role in the 1998-99 insurgency against Serb forces.
A former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), he was previously tried twice at the international tribunal but was acquitted for lack of evidence.
In Kosovo's general election on Oct. 6, 1.9 million registered voters will go to the polls to determine new members of the 120-seat parliament. Approximately 50,000 observers will follow the election, where 20 political parties and four alliances will compete.
Due to the high number of parties, another coalition government is expected to come out of the ballot box.
- Socialist victory expected in Portugal
Portugal will also go to general elections on the same day as Kosovo on Oct. 6.
The election in Portugal is expected to result in the victory of the Socialist Party (PS). The rise of the PS, currently in power in a minority government, stands out before the election, in which the 230-seat parliament will be elected.
The PS party is the second-largest in parliament after the right-wing Social Democratic Party (PSD). It has increased its votes after a successful four years as the minority government established by external support from other left and communist parties.
According to recent polls, the PS is being shown by far ahead of its largest rival, the PSD, and it is estimated that the PS, led by Prime Minister Antonio Costa, may even be able to capture the a parliamentary majority that could come to power alone.
Portugal has 5.4 million registered voters, while the turnout in 2015 was 55%.
Poland is another European country set to hold general elections.
About 38 million registered voters will head to the polls on Oct. 13 to determine the new members of the 460-seat Polish Parliament and the 100-seat Polish Senate.
According to polls, the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) is expected to regain an absolute majority and re-establish a government alone.
Switzerland is the next country to hold elections in Europe.
In the general election to be held in Switzerland on Oct. 20, citizens will determine the members of the Federal Parliament with 200 people and the Council of 46 people (Senators' Assembly).
Almost 90% of voters make their choices by electronically or by mail without personally going to the polls. Also, participation in the elections is expected to be less than 50%.
Many candidates of Turkish origin will compete in the elections. Among these, most prefer the Social Democratic Party (SP) most for nomination.
With a population of 8.4 million, Switzerland has been ruled by coalition governments for more than 50 years because of its complex political structure and electoral system.
Swiss Confederation presidents are elected by parliament from a seven-member cabinet and serve for a year.
- Second general election this year in Spain
Spain will go to a new early general election on Nov. 10, after early general elections on April 28 after political parties failed to agree to form a government.
These will be the country's fourth general elections in the last 4 years.
Also, it is the first time ever that Spain will go to the polls twice in a single year.
About 26.5 million voters will go to the polls on to elect 350 deputies and 208 senators.
Meanwhile, in Belarus, the people will go to the polls on Nov. 17 to determine new members of the 110-seat assembly.
- Presidential elections in Romania and Croatia
In Romania, the public will go to the polls on Nov. 10 to elect the country's president. If no candidate secures a majority in the first round, a second will be held on Nov. 24.
Croatia will also go to the polls in December or January to elect a new president, although the election schedule is not yet final.
The current president, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, who is about to fill her five-year mandate, is expected to be re-nominated by the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), while former prime minister Zoran Milanovic also holds promise.
Elections in Croatia need to be held between Dec. 21 and Jan. 20.
In Germany, voters will head to the polls for the state council on Oct. 27.
- Local elections in Bulgaria and Hungary
In Bulgaria, the public will go to the polls for local elections on Oct. 27.
Hungary, which has a population of around 9.7 million, will also hold local polls on Oct. 13.