The 2014 European elections confirmed the prominence in the media of what is commonly called the far right. While parties such as the Front National and UKIP were successful in the elections, their performance has since been exaggerated and they have benefited from a disproportionate coverage. Aiding their apparently ‘irresistible rise’, their normalisation was greatly facilitated by their description as ‘populist’ parties. However, while this term ‘populism’ has been almost universally accepted in the media, it remains a hotly debated concept on the academic circuit, and its careless use could in fact prove counterproductive in the assessment of the current state of democracy in Europe. Instead of focusing on the reasons behind the rise of these parties, similarities and differences already widely covered in the literature, this article hypothesises that a skewed and disproportionate coverage of the European elections in particular, and the ‘rise’ of ‘right-wing populism’ in general, have prevented a thorough democratic discussion from taking place and impeded the possibility of other political alternatives.
Published in French Politics, 13(2), (June 2015), pp. 141-156, DOI:10.1057/fp.2015.6, http://www.palgrave-journals.com/fp/journal/v13/n2/abs/fp20156a.html
Through the analysis of the ideology of two Hungarian parties typically considered as populist, this paper investigates how elitism can be integrated into an overall populist appeal. The two parties, Fidesz and Jobbik, are shown to offer two different formulae to the challenges that affect many authoritarian populist movements, but they both exhibit features of paternalist populism and illiberal elitism. With regard to Jobbik, the paper uncovers the existence of three distinct ideologies: right-wing populist; ultra-nationalist; and traditionalist and ‘meta-nationalist.’ The paper directs attention to the layered nature of partisan ideological discourses.
Published on May 19, 2015, Center for Transatlantic Relations, John Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, http://transatlanticrelations.org/sites/default/files/Zsolt%20CTR.pdf
Within less than two years of being founded by disgruntled members of the governing CDU, the newly formed Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has already performed extraordinarily well in the 2013 general election, the 2014 EP election, and a string of state elections. Highly unusually by German standards, it campaigned for an end to all efforts to save the euro and argued for a reconfiguration of Germany’s foreign policy. This seems to chime with the recent surge in far-right voting in Western Europe, and the AfD was subsequently described as right-wing populist and Europhobe.
Published in West European Politics, 38(3), May 2015, pp. 535-556 (online: 13 Jan 2015), DOI: 10.1080/01402382.2015.1004230, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01402382.2015.1004230