Matthijs Rooduijn, Sarah L
de Lange, and Wouter van der Brug, "A populist Zeitgeist?
Programmatic contagion by populist parties in Western
Europe," Party Politics, 20 (July, 2014), 563-575.
[Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol20/issue4/
Populist parties have become important players in Western
European party systems. Over the past decades, radical
right-wing populist parties have entered national
parliaments in countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Finland,
France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and
Switzerland, whereas radical left-wing populist parties have
gained representation in Germany, The Netherlands and
Scotland. Several populist parties, including the
Fremskrittspartiet (FRP), Perussuomalaiset (PS) and the
Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP), are supported by more than
20 percent of the electorate, and others (e.g. the
Freiheitliche Partei O¨sterreich (FPO¨ ), the Lega
Nord (LN) and the Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF)) have assumed
office in recent years.
- Figures and
- Table 1. Case details.
- Table 2. Populism in the programmes of mainstream
- Table 3. Populism in the programmes of non-mainstream
- Table 4. Populism in the programmes of mainstream
parties in the 1990s and 2000s.
- Table 5. Explaining populism in party
- Figure 1. The effect of the success of populist
parties on the degree of populism.
The fact that populist parties moderate their populism after
their electoral success suggests that populism need not be a
deeply rooted worldview. As a thin-centred ideology (instead
of a full ideology), it can also be used more strategically
to gain votes. This is done by parties that believe that
appealing to the 'man in the street' and bashing elites
might help them to achieve electoral breakthrough. This does
not mean that populism should be conceived of as (merely) a
style. After all, it is not just their rhetoric that
populists adjust; they change their programmes just as