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The combination of right-wing politics and populist rhetoric and themes
Classification of right-wing populism into a single political family has proved difficult and it is not certain whether a meaningful category exists, or merely a cluster of categories since the parties differ in ideology, organization and leadership rhetoric. Unlike traditional parties, they also do not belong to international organizations of like-minded parties, and they do not use similar terms to describe themselves.
Cas Mudde argues that two definitions can be given of the "populist radical right": a maximum and a minimum one, with the "maximum" group being a subgroup of the "minimum" group. The minimum definition describes what Michael Freeden has called the "core concept"[a] of the right-wing populist ideology, that is the concept shared by all parties generally included in the family. Looking at the primary literature, Mudde concludes that the core concept of right-populism "is undoubtedly the "nation". "This concept", he explains, "also certainly functions as a "coat-hanger" for most other ideological features. Consequently, the minimum definition of the party family should be based on the key concept, the nation". He however rejects the use of "nationalism" as a "core ideology" of right-wing populism on the ground that there are also purely "civic" or "liberal" forms of nationalism, preferring instead the term "nativism": a xenophobic form of nationalism asserting that "states should be inhabited exclusively by members of the native group ("the nation"), and that non-native elements (persons and ideas) are fundamentally threatening to the homogeneous nation-state". Mudde further argues that "while nativism could include racist arguments, it can also be non-racist (including and excluding on the basis of culture or even religion)", and that the term nativism does not reduce the parties to mere single-issue parties, such as the term "anti-immigrant" does. In the maximum definition, to nativism is added authoritarianism--an attitude, not necessary anti-democratic or automatic, to prefer "law and order" and the submission to authority[b]--and populism--a "thin-centered ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, "the pure people" versus "the corrupt elite", and which argues that politics should be an expression of the "general will" of the people", if needed before human rights or constitutional guarantees.[c] Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser reiterated in 2017 that there is, in European right-wing populism, a "marriage of convenience" of populism based on an "ethnic and chauvinistic definition of the people", authoritarianism, and nativism. This results in right-wing populism having a "xenophobic nature."
Roger Eatwell, Emeritus Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Bath, writes that "[W]hilst populism and fascism differ notably ideologically, in practice the latter has borrowed aspects of populist discourse and style, and populism can degenerate into leader-oriented authoritarian and exclusionary politics." For populism to transition into fascism or proto-fascism requires a "nihilistic culture and an intractable crisis."
[P]opulism is like fascism in being a response to liberal and socialistic explanations of the poltical. And also like fascism, populism does not recognize a legitimate political place for an opposition that it regards as acting against the desires of the people and that it also accuses of being tyrannical, conspiratorial, and antidemocratic. ... The opponents are turned into public enemies, but only rhetorically. If populism moves from rhetorical emnity to practices of enemy identification and persecution, we could be talking about its transformation into fascism or another form of dictatorial repression. This has happened in the past ... and without question it could happen in the future. This morphing of populism back into fascism is always a possibility, but it is very uncommon, and when it does happen, and populism becomes fully antidemocratic, it is no longer populism.
In summary, Erik Berggren and Andres Neergard wrote in 2015 that "[m]ost researchers agree [...] that xenophobia, anti-immigration sentiments, nativism, ethno-nationalism are, in different ways, central elements in the ideologies, politics, and practices of right-wing populism and Extreme Right Wing Parties." Similarly, historian Rick Shenkman describes the ideology presented by right-wing populism as "a deadly mix of xenpohobia, racism, and authoritarianism." Tamir Bar-On also concluded in 2018 that the literature generally places "nativism" or "ethnic nationalism" as the core concept of the ideology, which "implicitly posits a politically dominant group, while minorities as conceived as threats to the nation". It is "generally, but not necessarily racist"; in the case of the Dutch PVV for instance, "a religious [minority, i.e. Muslims] instead of an ethnic minority constitutes the main 'enemy'".
To Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin, "national populists prioritize the culture and interests of the nation, and promise to give voice to a people who feel that they have been neglected, even held in contempt, by distant and often corrupt elites." They are part, Eatwell and Goodwill follow, of a "growing revolt against mainstream politics and liberal values. This challenge is in general not anti-democratic. Rather, national populists are opposed to certain aspects of liberal democracy as it has evolved in the West. [...] [Their] "direct" conception of democracy differs from the "liberal" one that has flourished across the West following the defeat of fascism and which has gradually become more elitist in character." Furthermore, national populists question what they call the "erosion of the nation state", "hyper ethnic change" and the "capacity to rapidly absorb [high] rates of immigration", the "highly unequal societies" of the West's current economic settlement, and are suspicious of "cosmopolitan and globalizing agendas".
Jean-Yves Camus and Nicolas Lebourg see "national populism" as an attempt to combine socio-economical values of the left and political values of the right, and the support for a referendary republic that would bypass traditional political divisions and institutions. As they aim at a unity of the political (the demos), ethnic (the ethnos) and social (the working class) interpretations of the "people", national populists claim to defend the "average citizen" and "common sense", against the "betrayal of inevitably corrupt elites". As Front National ideologue François Duprat put in the 1970s, inspired by the Latin American right of that time, right-populism aims to constitute a "national, social, and popular" ideology. But if populism itself is shared by both left and right parties, their premises are indeed different: right-wing populists perceive society as in a state of decadence, from which "only the healthy common people can free the nation by forming one national class from the different social classes and casting aside the corrupt elites".
Methodologically, by co-opting concepts from the left – such as multiculturalism and ethnopluralism, which is espoused by the left as a means of preserving minority ethnic cultures within a pluralistic society – and then jettisoning their non-hierarchical essence, right-wing populists are able to, in the words of sociologist Jens Rydgren, "mobilize on xenophobic and racist public opinions without being stigmatized as racists."
European right-wing populism can be traced back to the period 1870-1900, in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, with the nascence of two different trends in Germany and France: the Völkisch movement and Boulangism.Völkischen represented a romantic nationalist, racialist, and from the 1900s antisemitic tendency in German society, as they idealized a bio-mystical "original nation", that still could be found in their views in the rural regions, a form of "primitive democracy freely subjected to their natural elites". In France, the anti-parliamentarian Ligue des Patriotes, led by Boulanger, Déroulède and Barrès, called for a "plebiscitary republic", with the president elected by universal suffrage, and the popular will expressed not through elected representatives (the "corrupted elites"), but rather via "legislative plebiscites", another name for referendums. It also evolved to antisemitism after the Dreyfus affair (1894).
Modern national populism--what Pierro Ignazi called "post-industrial parties"--emerged in the 1970s, in a dynamic sustained by voters' rejection of the welfare state and of the tax system, both deemed "confiscatory"; the rise of xenophobia against the backdrop of immigration which, because originating from outside Europe, was considered to be of a new kind; and finally, the end of the prosperity that had reigned since the post-World War II era, symbolized by the oil crisis of 1973. Two precursor parties consequently appeared in the early 1970s: the Progress Party, ancestor of the Danish People's Party; and the Anders Lange's Party in Norway.
A new wave of right-wing populism arose in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. "Neo-populists" are nationalist and Islamophobic politicians who aspire "to be the champions of freedoms for minorities (gays, Jews, women) against the Arab-Muslim masses"; a trend first embodied by the Dutch Pim Fortuyn List, and later followed by Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom and Marine Le Pen's National Rally. According to Jean-Yves Camus and Nicolas Lebourg, those parties are however not a real syncretism of the left and right, as both their ideology and voter base are interclassist.[d] Furthermore, neo-populist parties went from a critique of the welfare state to that of multiculturalism, and their priority demand remains the reduction of immigration. Political scientist Gaël Brustier defines that new populist trend as a "national security hedonism", that is the alliance between liberal individualism and national security concerns.
The Tea Party movement has been characterized as "a right-wing anti-systemic populist movement" by Rasmussen and Schoen (2010). They add: "Today our country is in the midst of a...new populist revolt that has emerged overwhelmingly from the right - manifesting itself as the Tea Party movement". In 2010, David Barstow wrote in The New York Times: "The Tea Party movement has become a platform for conservative populist discontent". Some political figures closely associated with the Tea Party, such as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and former U.S. Representative Ron Paul, have been described as appealing to right-wing populism. In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Freedom Caucus, which is associated with the Tea Party movement, has been described as right-wing populist.
In India, right-wing populism came into the picture in late 1980's by current ruling Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), the political party having close relation to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Right-wing populism has been fostered by RSS which stands against persecution of Hindus (Religious violence in India) by various invading forces over the centuries and have also been attributed to the concept of Hindutva. It vows to protect the ancient religion and culture of Hinduism and have strong views against destruction of its ancient heritage, in particularly Islamisation of India. BJP became a significant force in the state legislative assemblies and in the parliament in the 1990's by raising the issue of Ram Mandir (temple) establishment by demolishing the existing Babri Masjid (allegedly constructed by demolishing a Hindu temple)in Ayodhya, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. BJP and other conservative right wing organization such as Vishva Hindu Parishad, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha etc argues that the Masjid was built by Babur, the first Mughal emperor in India in 1526, by demolishing a Ram temple. This issue is known as the Ayodhya Dispute which is being handled by the Supreme court of India, as it can hurt the sentiments of both the majority Hindus and minority Muslims in India.
In recently concluded 2019 Indian general election, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by BJP have swept across the elections with unprecedented majority of 353 seats by gaining popularity across India and reducing the United Progressive Alliance led by Indian National Congress to only 91 seats.
In a speech to LDP lawmakers in Tokyo on March 8, 2019, Steve Bannon said that "Prime Minister Abe is a great hero to the grassroots, the populist, and the nationalist movement throughout the world."
The recent wave of right-wing populism knocked doors of Pakistan in form of Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf (PTI). Its leader Imran Khan has furiously attacked traditional politicians and made people believe that only he has the solutions. British journalist Ben Judah, in an interview, compared Imran Khan with Donald Trump on his populist rhetoric.
European national parliaments with representatives from right-wing populist parties in May 2019: Right-wing populists represented in the parliament Right-wing populists providing external support for government Right-wing populists involved in the government Right-wing populists appoint prime minister/president
Senior European Union diplomats cite growing anxiety in Europe about Russian financial support for far-right and populist movements and told the Financial Times that the intelligence agencies of "several" countries had stepped up scrutiny of possible links with Moscow. In 2016, the Czech Republic warned that Russia tries to "divide and conquer" the European Union by supporting right-wing populist politicians across the bloc.
Upon the 1999 federal election, the Freedom Party (FPÖ) with 26.9% of the votes cast became the second strongest party in the National Council parliament. Having entered a coalition government with the People's Party, Haider had to face the disability of several FPÖ ministers, but also the impossibility of agitation against members of his own cabinet. In 2005, he finally countered the FPÖ's loss of reputation by the Alliance for tfhe Future of Austria (BZÖ) relaunch in order to carry on his government. The remaining FPÖ members elected Heinz-Christian Strache chairman, but since the 2006 federal election both right-wing parties have run separately. After Haider was killed in a car accident in 2008, the BZÖ has lost a measurable amount of support.
Vlaams Blok, established in 1978, operated on a platform of law and order, anti-immigration (with particular focus on Islamic immigration) and secession of the Flanders region of the country. The secession was originally planned to end in the annexation of Flanders by the culturally and linguistically similar Netherlands until the plan was abandoned due to the multiculturalism in that country. In the elections to the Flemish Parliament in June 2004, the party received 24.2% of the vote, within less than 2% of being the largest party. However, in November of the same year, the party was ruled illegal under the country's anti-racism law for, among other things, advocating segregated schools for citizens and immigrants.
In less than a week, the party was re-established under the name Vlaams Belang, with a near-identical ideology. It advocates the adoption of the Flemish culture and language by immigrants who wish to stay in the country. Despite some accusations of antisemitism from Belgium's Jewish population, the party has demonstrated a staunch pro-Israel stance as part of its opposition to Islam. With 18 of 124 seats, Vlaams Belang leads the opposition in the Flemish Parliament and it also holds 11 out of the 150 seats in the Belgian House of Representatives.
as of the 2019 federal, regional and European elections Vlaams belang has surged from 248.843 votes in 2014 to a whopping 783.977 votes on the 26th of may 2019. it has achieved this by massively restructuring the party to a party for the young under the 32 year old Tom Van Grieken. These results made VLAAMS BELANG not only the second party in Flanders, but the second party in all of Belgium. It must also be noted that not all Belgian votes have equal value with the Walloon vote counting for about 60% more towards the amount of seats being granted. for the first time a VB party president has been invited on the traditional meeting with the king. The party is no doubt the biggest winner of the recent elections, despite not being the biggest party, the other victor is the communist PVDA which seems to indicate a migration to the fringes of both left and right, despite this the latter is still the smallest party in Flanders.
It is likely that VB wil remain in opposition due to the unwillingness of most of the other parties to work with them. despite a court ruling that the party is not racist (anymore).
The ELAM (National People's Front) () was formed in 2008 on the platform of maintaining Cypriot identity, opposition to further European integration, immigration and the status quo that remains due to Turkey's invasion of a third of the island (and the international community's lack of intention to solve the issue).
In the early 1970s, the home of the strongest right-wing-populist party in Europe was in Denmark, the Progress Party. In the 1973 election, it received almost 16% of the vote. In the following years, its support dwindled away, but was replaced by the Danish People's Party in the 1990s, which has gone on to be an important support party for the governing Liberal-Conservative coalition in the 2000s (decade). The Danish People's Party is the largest and most influential right-wing populist party in Denmark today. It won 37 seats in the 2015 Danish general election and became the second largest party in Denmark. The Danish People's Party advocates immigration reductions, particularly from non-Western countries, favor cultural assimilation of first generation migrants into Danish society and are opposed to Denmark becoming a multicultural society.
Additionally, the Danish People's Party's stated goals are to enforce a strict rule of law, to maintain a strong welfare system for those in need, to promote economic growth by strengthening education and encouraging people to work and in favor of protecting the environment. In 2015, The New Right was founded, but they have not yet participated in an election.
France's National Front (NF) – renamed in 2018 as the "National Rally" – has been cited the "prototypical populist radical right-wing party".
The party was founded in 1972 by Jean-Marie Le Pen as the unification of a number of French nationalist movements of the time, it was developed by him into a well-organized party. After struggline for a decade, the party reached its first peak in 1984. By 2002, Le Pen received more votes than the Socialist candidate in the first round of voting for the French presidency, becoming the first time a NF candidate had qualified for a hgih-level run-off election.
Since Le Pen's daughter, Marine Le Pen, took over as the head of the party in 2011, the National Front has established itself as one of the main political parties in France and also as the strongest and most successful populist party of Europe as of 2015. Marine Le Pen's policy of "de-demonizing", or normalizing the party resulted in her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, being first suspended and then ejected from the party in 2015.
Marine Le Pen finished second in the 2017 election and lost in the second round of voting versus Emmanuel Macron which was held on 7 May 2017. However, polls published in 2018 showed that a majority of the French population consider the party to be a threat to democracy.
The 2018 Hungarian parliamentary election result was a victory for the Fidesz-KDNP alliance, preserving its two-thirds majority, with Viktor Orbán remaining Prime Minister. Orbán and Fidesz campaigned primarily on the issues of immigration and foreign meddling, and the election was seen as a victory for right-wing populism in Europe.
The Golden Dawn has grown significantly in Greece during the country's economic downturn, gaining 7% of the vote and 18 out of 300 seats in the Hellenic Parliament. The party's ideology includes annexation of territory in Albania and Turkey, including the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Izmir. Controversial measures by the party included a poor people's kitchen in Athens which only supplied to Greek citizens and was shut down by the police.
In Italy, the most prominent right-wing populist party is Lega, formerly Lega Nord (Northern League), whose leaders reject the right-wing label, though not the "populist" one. The League is a federalist, regionalist and sometimes secessionist party, founded in 1991 as a federation of several regional parties of Northern and Central Italy, most of which had arisen and expanded during the 1980s. LN's program advocates the transformation of Italy into a federal state, fiscal federalism and greater regional autonomy, especially for the Northern regions. At times, the party has advocated for the secession of the North, which it calls Padania. The party generally takes an anti-Southern Italian stance as members are known for opposing Southern Italian emigration to Northern Italian cities, stereotyping Southern Italians as welfare abusers and detrimental to Italian society and attributing Italy's economic troubles and the disparity of the North-South divide in the Italian economy to supposed inherent negative characteristics of the Southern Italians, such as laziness, lack of education or criminality. Certain LN members have been known to publicly deploy the offensive slur "terrone", a common pejorative term for Southern Italians that is evocative of negative Southern Italian stereotypes. As a federalist, regionalist, populist party of the North, LN is also highly critical of the centralized power and political importance of Rome, sometimes adopting to a lesser extent an anti-Roman stance in addition to an anti-Southern stance.
The PVV withdrew its support for the First Rutte cabinet in 2012 after refusing to support austerity measures. This triggered the 2012 general election in which the PVV was reduced to 15 seats and excluded from the new government.
In the 2017 Dutch general election, Wilders' PVV gained an extra five seats to become the second largest party in the Dutch House of Representatives, bringing their total to 20 seats.
Polish Congress of the New Right, headed by Micha? Marusik, aggressively promotes fiscally conservative concepts like radical tax reductions preceded by abolishment of social security, universal public healthcare, state-sponsored education and abolishment of Communist Polish 1944 agricultural reform as a way to dynamical economic and welfare growth. The party is considered populist both by right-wing and left-wing publicists.
In Spain, the appearance of right-wing populism began to gain strength after the December 2018 election for the Parliament of Andalusia, in which the right-wing populist party VOX managed to obtain 12 seats, and agreed to support a coalition government of the parties of the right People's Party and Citizens, even though the Socialist Party won the elections. VOX, that has been frequently described as far-right, both by the left parties and by Spanish or international press, promotes characteristic policies of the populist right, such as the expulsion of all illegal immigrants from the country -even of legal immigrants who commit crimes-, a generalized criminal tightening, combined with traditional claims of right-wing conservatives, such as the centralization of the State and the suppression of the Autonomous Communities, and has harshly criticized the laws against gender violence, approved by the socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, but later maintained by the PP executive of Mariano Rajoy, accusing the people and institutions that defend them of applying "gender totalitarianism".
Party official Javier Ortega Smith is being investigated for alleged hate speech after Spanish prosecutors admitted a complaint by an Islamic association in connection with a rally that talked about "the Islamist invasion". The party election manifesto that was finally published merged classic far-right-inspired policies with right-wing liberalism in tax and social security matters.
After months of political uncertainty and protests against the party in Andalusia and other regions, in the 2019 Spanish general election VOX managed to obtain 24 deputies in the Congress of Deputies, with 10.26% of the vote, falling short from expectations after an intense electoral campaign in which VOX gathered big crowds of people at their events. Although the People's Party and Citizens leaders, Pablo Casado and Albert Rivera, had admitted repeatedly during the campaign that they would again agree with VOX in order to reach the government, the sum of all their seats finally left them far from any possibility, giving the government to the socialist Pedro Sánchez.
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In Switzerland, radical right populist parties held close to 10% of the popular vote in 1971, were reduced to below 2% by 1979 and again grew to more than 10% in 1991. Since 1991, these parties (the Swiss Democrats and the Swiss Freedom Party) have been absorbed by the SVP. During the 1990s, the SVP grew from being the fourth largest party to being the largest and gained a second seat the Swiss Federal Council in 2003, with prominent politician and businessman Christoph Blocher. In 2015, the SVP received 29.4% of the vote, the highest vote ever recorded for a single party throughout Swiss parliamentary history.
^Mondon, Aurélien (2013). The Mainstreaming of the Extreme Right in France and Australia. Routledge. If ... Abbott failed to satisfy the electorate he has assuaged with his right-wing populism, a return to more traditionally extreme politics could be a real possibility
^Skenderovic 2009, p. 124: "... and prefers to use terms such as 'national-conservative' or 'conservative-right' in defining the SVP. In particular, 'national-conservative' has gained prominence among the definitions used in Swiss research on the SVP".
^H-G Betz, 'Xenophobia, Identity Politics and Exclusionary Populism in Western Europe', L. Panitch & C. Leys (eds.), Socialist Register 2003 - Fighting Identities: Race, Religion and Ethno-nationalism, London: Merlin Press, 2002, p. 198
^Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN0810862956, p. 104.
^Smilova, Ruzha; Smilov, Daniel; Ganev, Georgi (2012). Democracy and the Media in Bulgaria: Who Represents the People?. Understanding Media Policies: A European Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 48-49.
^Kuzio, Taras (November-December 2010), "Populism in Ukraine in a Comparative European Context"(PDF), Problems of Post-Communism, 57 (6): 3-18, doi:10.2753/ppc1075-8216570601, retrieved 2012, Anti-Semitism only permeates Ukraine's far-right parties, such as Svoboda... Ukraine's economic nationalists are to be found in the extreme right (Svoboda) and centrist parties that propagate economic nationalism and economic protectionism.
^Alexander Häusler (Hrsg.): Rechtspopulismus als ,,Bürgerbewegung". Kampagnen gegen Islam und Moscheebau und kommunale Gegenstrategien. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN978-3-531-15919-5.
^Freeden has developed in 1996 the idea that every ideology has "core" and "peripheral" concepts. Building on his work, Terance Ball (1999) has given the following definition: "A core concept is one that is both central to, and constitutive of, a particular ideology and therefore of the ideological community to which it gives inspiration and identity. For example, the concept of 'class' (and of course 'class struggle') is a key or core concept in Marxism, as 'gender' is in feminism, and 'liberty' (or 'individual liberty') is in liberalism, and so on through the list of leading ideologies."
^Mudde: authoritarianism "is the belief in a strictly ordered society, in which infringements of authority are to be punished severely. In this interpretation, [it] includes law and order and "punitive conventional moralism." It does not necessarily mean an anti-democratic attitude, but neither does it preclude one. In addition, the authoritarian's submission to authority, established or not, is "not absolute, automatic, nor blind". In other words, while authoritarians will be more inclined to accept (established) authority than non-authoritarians, they can and will rebel under certain circumstances."
^Right-wing populists here give a preference for the état légal--which gives primacy to the law as expressed by the general will via election or referendum; against the Rechtsstaat--which limits the power of the democratic state (the majority) to protect the rights of minorities.
^Neo-populists, contrary to the Marxist worldview, do not oppose the "working class" to the "bourgeoisie" and capitalists, but rather the "people" to the "elites" and immigrants.
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------ (2006) . Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe. Comparative Politics. Oxford University Press. ISBN978-0-19-929159-5.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)