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Cas Mudde, "Fighting the system? Populist radical right parties and party system change," Party Politics, 20 (March 2014), 217-226. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
Populist radical right parties (PRRPs) are the most successful party family to have emerged in post-war Europe. Moreover, it is the only new party family that is relevant in both Western and Eastern Europe. Its importance, however, has often been seriously overstated in both academic and non-academic accounts. On the whole, PRRPs have thus far had only a rather modest influence over European politics (Mudde, 2013). Even on their most important issue, i.e. immigration, mainstream right-wing parties have generally been more important (see Bale, 2008).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Western European countries by strength of populist radical right party and presence of two-bloc polarized party system, 1980-2012.

Last Paragraph:
(first paragraph of conclusion) This article has analysed one important aspect of the potential systemic impact of PRRPs in Western Europe, namely their effect on party systems. In summary, it is clear that they have not been a major factor in party system change in Western Europe. While their rise has changed the identity of some of the political parties in some of the party systems of Western Europe, this analysis shows that PRRPs have hardly changed the systemic interactions between the relevant political parties within most countries. In other words, electoral change, or even party change, does not necessarily equate to party system change (Mair, 1989).

Last updated March 2014