Austria, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland: Old and New Winning Formulas of the Populist Radical Right

Author(s) : Jasmine Lorenzini, Mathilde M. van Ditmars

Source :


« The chapter studies the transformations of party competition in Austria, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland since the onset of the Great Recession. In particular, we study the fate of the Radical Populist Right (RPR) in these four countries that are typical examples of party systems with a strong radical right. The economic crisis calls into question the electoral strategy that RPR parties adopt when campaigning in times of crises. We hypothesize that the Great Recession reinforces the RPR strategic move of combining anti-immigration stances with welfare chauvinism (“the new winning formula”), rather than economic liberalism (“the winning formula”), taking into account the economic fears of their electorate. Studying the political dynamics unleashed by the crisis with original media data, the chapter shows that in France and the Netherlands, the government parties’ widespread support for austerity measures coincided with the RPR moving from anti-immigration and pro-economic liberalism stances, to nativist welfare state protectionism. However, in Switzerland, we observe that the RPR remain strictly attached to the winning formula. Austria offers an interesting case, where the RPR embraced shortly (in one election) the welfare chauvinism position, but subsequently returned to its original position of anti-immigration and economic liberalism.  »

Keywords: Radical Populist Right — Welfare Chauvinism — Economic liberalism — Austria — Switzerland — The Netherlands — France

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