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David Art, "Reacting to the Radical Right: Lessons from Germany and Austria," Party Politics, 13 (May 2007), 331-349.

First paragraph:
The rise of right-wing populist parties over the past several decades is one of the most dramatic developments in recent West European politics. The 'first wave' of scholarship on the post-war far right sought to explain why such parties had arisen across advanced industrial societies (Betz, 1994; Ignazi, 1992; Von Beyme, 1988). More recently, scholars have tried to unravel the puzzle of why these parties have become strong in some states but fizzled, or failed to develop, in others. Some analysts have focused on immigration rates as a primary variable (Gibson, 2002; Golder, 2003a; Knigge, 1998), while others have challenged this explanation (Kitschelt, 1995; Norris, 2005). Differences in electoral rules have been deemed important by some (Golder, 2003b; Jackman and Volpert, 1996), while others have argued that the correlation between effective thresholds and vote share for the far right is not statistically significant (Carter, 2002). A third line of argument focuses on the programme of far-right parties, specifically their ability to create a cross-class coalition between middle class advocates of neoliberalism and working class resentment toward foreigners (Kitschelt, 1995).

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Circulation of major German newspapers, 1997
Figure 2. Circulation of major Austrian newspapers, 1996

Last Paragraph:
Looking at the cohesion of the Swiss parties, we find results that are in line with earlier findings. The leftist PSS is one of the more cohesive If the far right suffered setbacks in Austria, the recent success of both the DVU and the NPD in the 2004 state elections in Brandenburg and Saxony suggest that right-wing extremism is becoming a political force in Germany. The transformation of the NPD into a political party capable of winning representation is especially significant, since the party is highly organized and has set deep roots in certain subcultures (in contrast to the DVU). Yet it is important to note that the recent success of the far right is primarily an eastern phenomenon. Although political parties have all enforced policies of non-cooperation with the far right, the NPD in particular has been able to attain a measure of legitimacy in certain cities and towns in the east, which helps explain its recent electoral success (Art, 2004). The contrast between the continued resistance of the west to far-right parties and their rising fortunes in the east is yet another piece of evidence that 'inner unity' remains elusive

last updated June 2007