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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 ]

First paragraph:
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 Tables:
Table 1. Case details.
Table 2. Populism in the programmes of mainstream parties.
Table 3. Populism in the programmes of non-mainstream parties.
Table 4. Populism in the programmes of mainstream parties in the 1990s and 2000s.
Table 5. Explaining populism in party programmes.
Figure 1. The effect of the success of populist parties on the degree of populism.

Last Paragraph:
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 well.

Last updated June 2014