The European Mainstream and the Populist Radical Right (Hardback) book cover

The European Mainstream and the Populist Radical Right

Edited by Pontus Odmalm, Eve Hepburn

© 2017 – Routledge

166 pages

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Hardback: 9781857438314
pub: 2017-04-06
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Are populist radical right (PRR) parties the only alternatives for voters seeking restrictive and assimilationist outcomes? Or is a mainstream choice available? Popular opinion and social media commentaries often criticize mainstream parties for facing in the same liberal and multicultural direction. Literature on parties and elections equally suggests a convergence of policy positions and the disappearance of any significant differences between parties. This edited volume is an attempt to challenge such perceptions and conclusions. By systematically coding manifestos for seventeen mainstream and six PRR parties in Western Europe, the book explores positional differences between mainstream and niche contenders over three key elections between 2002 and 2015. The findings indicate more choice than initially expected, but these restrictive and assimilationist options are usually in close proximity to each other and typically less intense than those of the PRR. This can help explain the continuous growth of the PRR despite the presence of a mainstream alternative. Yet party system dynamics also matter. Contributing authors thus investigate a number of arguments in the precarious relationship between mainstream parties, the electorate and the PRR, as well as between different mainstream parties.

Table of Contents

The European Mainstream and the Populist Radical Right


  1. Mainstream Parties, the Populist Radical Right, and the (Alleged) Lack of a Restrictive and Assimilationist Alternative

Pontus Odmalm and Eve Hepburn

2. The European Mainstream and the Populist Radical Right (PRR): The British Case

Rebecca Partos

3. Conflict and Co-operation between the Danish Mainstream as a Condition for Adaptation to the Populist Radical Right

Flemming Juul Christiansen

4. Immigration, Integration and the Finns Party: Issue-ownership by Coincidence or by Stealth?

Mikko Kuisma and Mikael Nygård

5. The French Mainstream and the Front National’s Electoral Fortunes

João Carvalho

6. Accommodating the Dutch Populist Radical Right in a Multi-Party System: Success or Failure?

Marijn van Klingeren, Andrej Zaslove and Bertjan Verbeek

7. Sweden: From Deviant Case to PRR Hotbed?

Anders Widfeldt

8. Concluding Remarks

Pontus Odmalm


Tables and Figures

Chapter 1

Figure 1. Aggregate Manifesto Positions on the Immigration 'Issue' (2002 - 2015)

Table 1. Results for the Populist Radical Right, 1956 – 2015 (%); national/federal level elections

Table 2. Case Parties and Votes (2002 – 2015)

Table 3. Breakdown of Positions on the Immigration ‘Issue’, 2002 – 2015.

Table 4. Was an aggregate R/A-choice offered by one or more mainstream parties? (2002 – 2015)

Table 5. Subcategories of the immigration ‘issue’ where an R/A-choice was offered by one or more mainstream parties (2002 – 2015)

Table 6. Changes to PRR vote share (2002 – 2015)

Chapter 3

Table 1. Election results (seats gained, 2007-2015)

Table 2. Manifesto and Coalition Agreement Positions (2007)

Table 3: Manifesto and Coalition Agreement Positions (2011)

Table 4: Manifesto and Coalition Agreement Positions (2011)


Chapter 6

Figure 1. Left-right placements by party positions on immigration ‘issue’ (2006– 2012)

Chapter 7

Figure 1. Proportion of Swedish population with foreign origin, 2000-2015

Figure 2. Public attitudes to immigration in 15 European countries, 2014.

Figure 3. Saliency of immigration issue in Sweden, 1987-2014.

Table 1. Issue ownership of immigration, Sweden 2014. Percentages of voters indicating each parliamentary party as having the best policies on immigration/refugees.

Table 2. Parliamentary election results for New Democracy and Sweden Democrats, 1988-2014

Table 3. Voters’ placements of Social Democrat and Moderate parties on a left-right scale, 1979-2014.

Table 4a. Immigration positioning

Table 4b. Summary positions









About the Series

Europa Regional Perspectives

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Radicalism
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / European