Radical Right Parties in Central and Eastern Europe: Mainstream Party Competition and Electoral Fortune, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Radical Right Parties in Central and Eastern Europe

Mainstream Party Competition and Electoral Fortune, 1st Edition

By Bartek Pytlas


242 pages | 34 B/W Illus.

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In Central and Eastern Europe, radical right actors significantly impact public debates and mainstream policy agenda. But despite this high discursive influence, the electoral fortune of radical right parties in the region is much less stable. It has been suggested that this may be due to the fact that mainstream competitors increasingly co-opt issues which are fundamental for the radical right. However, the extent to which such tactics play a role in radical right electoral success and failure is still a subject for debate.

This book is the first to provide a systematic theoretical framework and in-depth empirical research on the interaction between discursive influence, party competition and the electoral fortune of radical right parties in Central and Eastern Europe. It argues that in order to fully explain the impact of mainstream party strategies in this regard, it is vital to widen the analysis beyond competition over issues themselves, and towards their various legitimizing narratives and frame ownership. Up-to-date debates over policies of collective identity (minority, morality and nationalizing politics) in Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia serve as best cases to observe these under-researched phenomena. The analytical model is evaluated comparatively using original, primary data combined with election studies and expert surveys.

Advancing an innovative, fine-grained approach on the mechanisms and effects of party competition between radical right and mainstream parties, this book will be of interest to students and scholars researching the far right and European party politics, as well as political contestation and framing.


"Radical Right Parties in Central and Eastern Europe: Mainstream Party Competition and Electoral Fortune" has received the Gero Erdmann Comparative Area Studies Award 2018 from Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft/Governance and Politics (ZfVP).

Table of Contents

1. The Puzzle of Radical Right Electoral Fortune in Central and Eastern Europe: Introductory Remarks 2. The Radical Right and Their Mainstream Competitors in Central and Eastern Europe 3. Contest over Meaning: Theoretical Framework and Narrative Interaction Model of Radical Right Electoral Fortune 4. Bulwark of Christianity? Morality Debates in Poland 5. Defense against Hungarian Dominance? Minority Debates in Slovakia 6. A Second Trianon? Nemzetpolitika Debates in Hungary 7. Jobbik and Anti-Roma Minority Debates 8. Discursive Influence, Party Competition and Electoral Fortune: Comparative Results and Conclusions

About the Author

Bartek Pytlas received his doctoral degree in Comparative Political Science from European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). He is currently Lecturer at the Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. His research interests include the electoral performance of radical right parties, comparative party competition, as well as transformation of societies and party systems in Europe.

About the Series

Extremism and Democracy

This series covers academic studies within the broad fields of ‘extremism’ and ‘democracy’, with volumes focusing on adjacent concepts such as populism, radicalism, and ideological/religious fundamentalism. These topics have been considered largely in isolation by scholars interested in the study of political parties, elections, social movements, activism, and radicalisation in democratic settings. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter-)relation between extremism, radicalism, populism, fundamentalism, and democracy. Since its establishment in 1999, the series has encompassed both influential contributions to the discipline and informative accounts for public debate. Works will seek to problematise the role of extremism, broadly defined, within an ever-globalising world, and/or the way social and political actors can respond to these challenges without undermining democratic credentials.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Comparative
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Fascism & Totalitarianism