How Responsive are Populist Governing Parties in Europe?

Comparative Politics
Party Manifestos
Political Parties
Vasiliki Tsagkroni
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Vasiliki Tsagkroni
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Recently many of the academic literature have focused on the populist parties in Europe, as many populist parties tend to be electorally successful. The literature on populist parties in Europe have mostly focused on the populist radical right parties. Nowadays we can observe that populist parties govern as well, as minor coalition partners such as True Finns, as major coalition partners (Syriza) or even as a majority government such as Law and Order in Poland. In this paper, we discuss and compare the responsiveness of both right wing populist parties but also left wing populism. In the literature on the political responsiveness, the latter defined as a twofold phenomenon: the party rhetoric but also the parties’ policies. For the purpose of this paper we examine both. Firstly, we examine the parties’ rhetoric in comparison with the public opinion. We expect to find that populist parties from either left or right wing follow the public opinion. Also, we examine the policies that these parties impose as governing parties. We also expect to see that populist parties are more responsive compared to their mainstream competitors in government because of their populist profile.
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"Aristocracies … may preserve themselves longest, but only democracies, which refresh their ruling class, can expand" - Hugh Trevor-Roper

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