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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

The Electoral Performance of Left-Wing Populism in Spain in Comparative Perspective

Comparative Politics
Political Competition
Voting Behaviour
Joan Carles Pamies Palazuelo
Universidad Autònoma de Madrid – Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos del CSIC
Joan Carles Pamies Palazuelo
Universidad Autònoma de Madrid – Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos del CSIC

The rise of populism in Southern Europe is a unique phenomenon that is unparalleled with any other process of such nature in the region. The global financial crisis in 2007 caused a political turmoil in Europe, specially in the southern countries that could not find market financing and that asked for help other European countries and international monetary organisations. The consequences of the austerity measures have affected countries such as Spain and Greece, with profound changes in the party system. Even if the contributions on the party system collapse are fertile (Morgan, 2011), the same cannot be said about the reasons behind the electoral
performance of populist parties. Except for the latest literature (van Kessel, 2015), the issue of this success, or lack thereof, has been neglected. However, some cases, including Spain, are absent in the literature.

The objective of this paper is to explain the electoral and legislative performance of populist parties in Spain in the last decade, and to compare it with other countries in the region (Greece and Portugal). This explanation will take into account the socio-economic facilitators like economic hardship, inequality and corruption; political attitudes, including disaffection (Di Palma, 1970; Montero et al., 1998); and the Political Opportunity Structure (Kriesi, 1995;
Lucardie, 2000). This empirical and comparative endeavour will draw evidence from three different databases and from the literature on political parties, specially from the literature on populist parties, new parties and radical parties.
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