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Fertile Grounds for the Radical Right: Evidence from the Netherlands

Marcel Coenders
The Netherlands Institute for Social Research – SCP
Marcel Coenders
The Netherlands Institute for Social Research – SCP
Hilde Coffe
University of Bath
Marcel Lubbers
University of Utrecht
Open Panel

Abstract

The radical right and Islamophobic Party of Freedom (PVV) led by Geert Wilders, was very successful at the Dutch 2010 Parliamentary elections. It gained 15.5 percent of the Dutch votes. Yet, its success shows great variation across the Dutch municipalities, from a low 5.7% to a maximum of 38.7%. The aim of our paper is to identify contextual determinants that contribute to the party’s variation in success on the municipal level. Whereas the relatively limited previous research focusing on regional variance in successes of the radical right mostly tested mainly ethnic and economic threat explanations, we seek to move beyond these explanations and also include the effect of political context characteristics on the radical right success. In particular and taking insights from theories on protest voting and electoral supply and representation, we aim to look at the effect of previous levels of non-voting and voting for political outsiders, and the presence of regional candidates. By investigating the effect of these political context explanations, as well as the socio-economic context, the level of urbanization and religiosity, we believe to add to the prevalent literature on spatial variation in radical right voting, and to be able to answer the question to what extent the success of the PVV is the result of a context of political protest and electoral supply, the socioeconomic context, or the interrelation between both.