Southern Europe

Spain: No Country for the Populist Radical Right? Sonia Alonso & Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser

Research Papers & Analysis


Although there is growing research interest in populist radical right (PRR) parties in Western Europe, little attention has been paid to the case of Spain – a country where these parties are almost non-existent or irrelevant from an electoral and political point of view. In a nutshell, we maintain that in contemporary Spain there is real demand for PRR parties, but three supply-side factors are impeding their electoral breakthrough and persistence: the cleavage structure of the country, the strategy of competition of the mainstream right and the electoral system. At the same time, we postulate that at least in the case of Spain the Great Recession has not improved the electoral odds of the PRR as such but rather facilitated the emergence of leftist populist forces.

Published in South European Society and Politics, online 13 December 2014, DOI:10.1080/13608746.2014.985448,