Exclusive Solidarity? Radical Right Parties and the Welfare State
39 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 2014
Radical right parties in Western Europe have traditionally shown little support for redistributive policies and have thus been typically classified as economically right wing. Yet, they are contesting the votes of a (formerly) key electorate of the social democratic parties: the working class, who supports welfare redistribution. In this study, we argue and empirically demonstrate that radical right parties have adapted their programmatic preferences to this key segment of electorate by progressively promoting redistributive policies. For our analyses we use mixed methods and rely on a combination of data sources. Firstly, we assess the salience of welfare issues in the manifestos of major West European radical right parties over the last three decades based on CMP data. Secondly, we examine their positions on welfare issues based on recent euandi data. Thirdly, we analyse the most recent manifestos of two successful radical right parties (Austrian FPÖ and French FN) qualitatively. Our findings show that for a majority of radical right parties welfare state expansion has become a salient issue, and that they do not position themselves anymore on the right regarding redistributive issues; however, these parties promote a specific kind of solidarity: exclusive solidarity.
Keywords: Political Parties, Radical Right, Welfare politics, Solidarity
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