A Portuguese Exception to Right-Wing Populism
5 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2018 Last revised: 8 May 2018
Date Written: January 2018
Many European countries have witnessed the rise of right-wing (nativist and authoritarian) populist parties over the last few years, which have gained significant votes and sometimes threatened the position of traditional parties. In Portugal, however, right-wing populism has failed to gain electoral support, and the populist discourse is scarcely found in Portuguese politics. In this comment, we offer four tentative hypotheses that explain why right-wing parties with a populist discourse are not present in Portugal: low levels of Eurospecticism, low immigration rates, lack of political space to develop, and lower engagement in communicating that same populism. We conclude that these dynamics create a special balance, and a rather specific political situation in Portugal that does not facilitate the spread of right-wing populism. This balance, we also argue, may be compromised if any of these dynamics suddenly change, potentially paving the way for right-wing populists in Portugal to achieve more political prominence.
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