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With a proliferation of scholarly work focusing on populist, far-left, and far-right parties, questions have arisen about the correct ways to ideologically classify such parties. To ensure transparency and uniformity in research, the discipline could benefit from a systematic procedure. In this letter, we discuss how we have employed the method of ‘Expert-informed Qualitative Comparative Classification’ (EiQCC) to construct the newest version of The PopuList (3.0) – a database of populist, far-left, and far-right parties in Europe since 1989. This method takes into account the in-depth knowledge of national party experts while allowing for systematic comparative analysis across cases and over time. We also examine how scholars have made use of the previous versions of the dataset, explain how the new version of The PopuList differs from previous ones, and compare it to other data. We conclude with a discussion of the strengths and limitations of The PopuList dataset.
The Dutch multiparty system has incorporated exponents and beneficiaries of both the silent revolution and, more recently, the silent counter-revolution. Whilst post-materialist parties contributed to the erosion of the traditional party families’ dominant position, the breakthrough of populist right-wing parties after the turn of the twenty-first century has been more spectacular. These proved to be serious electoral competitors to the two established centre-right parties: the Christian Democrats (Christen Democratisch Appel, CDA) and conservative liberals (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie, VVD). Those two parties adapted their positions in reaction to the right-wing insurgents, sharpening their positions on immigration and cultural integration in particular, and also collaborated with them in office. None of this has stemmed the popularity of the populist right, which continues to play an important role in the highly fragmented Dutch party landscape.
This article assesses the electoral performance of populist parties in three European countries: the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom. In explaining the electoral performance of the populist parties in the three countries, the article considers the agency of political parties in particular. More specifically, it examines the responsiveness of established parties and the credibility of the populist parties. Whereas the agency of populist parties, or other radical outsiders, has often been overlooked in previous comparative studies, this article argues that the credibility of the populist parties themselves plays a crucial role in understanding their electoral success and failure.
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