From Trivialized Neo-Nazi to the Parliament: Explaining the Electoral Success of the Extreme Right Party ĽSNS in Slovakia

Elections
 
Europe (Central and Eastern)
 
Extremism
 
Nationalism
 
Political Parties
 
Populism
 
Presenter
Petr Voda
Masaryk University
Authors
Alena Kluknavska
Masaryk University
Petr Voda
Masaryk University

Abstract
Several countries across Europe have in recent years saw growth in mobilisation of extreme right parties and movements. Beside rather years-long stable position of the nationalist party in the party system, Slovakia has witnessed rapid electoral increase in the support of the extreme right People's Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS). In the 2016 parliamentary elections, the party managed to attract enough votes to enter the opposition, forcing the political and public observers to claim that neo-Nazi organisation penetrated the national level of politics. In this study, a conceptual framework is developed to explain this success, which combines factors on the demand and supply side of factors. In the first part, we look into the fertile ground (unemployment rates, education, attitudes towards minorities, foreigners, and elites, etc.) and analyze the demand for this type of politics in Slovakia. In terms of supply, we analyze the party's ability to frame certain issues (political, minority and immigration themes) and to present itself as legitimate and effective political actor. By applying the frame analysis on the party documents (electoral statements, party press, statements), we claim that the ĽSNS strategically changed its framing and took advantage of favourable political and discursive contextual circumstances. Through the strategy combining populist, anti-establishment and ethno-nationalist xenophobic frame (Rydgren 2007), they were able to successfully mobilize on anti-elite, anti-immigrant and anti-minority attitudes of certain parts of public, while harvesting on opportunities opened up to them. We conclude that this combination of demand with supply factors allowed the party to increase its electoral gains from 1.5% (in 2012) to 8% (in 2016) and to address new segments of voters, in addition to stable core of supporters willing to cast their vote to an extremist party. This study contributes to the literature explaining the successful wave of extreme right parties in Europe in recent two decades.
Share this page
 

"Man is by nature a political animal" - Aristotle


Back to top