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The Evolution of the ‘Populist Potential’ in European Politics: From New Right Radicalism to Anti-System Populism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean View
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2013


King's Authors


Over the past 30 years, responding to different international, political and economic circumstances, populists have formed, preserved, nurtured and expanded a political identity that is today present in most political systems in Europe. This identity constitutes a ‘populist potential’, in the sense that it is non-ideological and that it wavers between electoral abstention and support for anti-system parties. This essay provides a historical overview of the ideological and sociological evolution of the populist identity in Europe and reviews the ways parties of the centre–right have dealt with it in the past. Its conclusion is that practices like coalition building and theme co-optation are not so easy to deploy today, given the non-ideological and anti-system nature of the populist potential.

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