International Populism

The Radical Right in the European Parliament

September 2019 9781787381391 282pp


The 2014 European Parliament elections were hailed as a ‘populist earthquake’, with parties like the French Front National, UKIP and the Danish People’s Party topping the polls in their respective countries. But what happened afterwards?

Based on policy positions, voting data, and interviews conducted over three years with senior figures from fourteen radical right populist parties and their partners, this is the first major study to explain these parties’ actions and alliances in the European Parliament. International Populism answers three key questions: why have radical right populists, unlike other ideological party types, long been divided in the Parliament? Why, although divisions persist, are many of them now more united than ever? And how does all this inform our understanding of the European populist radical right today?

Arguing that these parties have entered a new international and transnational phase, with some trying to be ‘respectable radicals’ while others embrace their shared populism, McDonnell and Werner shed new light on the past, present and future of one of the most important political phenomena of twenty-first-century Europe.


‘An excellent addition to the literature on populism.’ CHOICE

‘Highly original, interesting and accessible. McDonnell and Werner have produced the first comparative study of the most important form of international collaboration of populist radical right parties: groups within the European Parliament.’ Cas Mudde, Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor of International Affairs, University of Georgia; co-author of Populism: A Very Short Introduction and author of On Extremism and Democracy in Europe

‘Simply the most comprehensive and compelling work on the radical right at the European level. Theoretically elegant, grounded in rich empirical scholarship, methodologically balanced, and well written a must-read for anyone interested in international radical right cooperation.’ Reinhard Heinisch, Professor of Comparative Austrian Politics and Chair of Political Science and Sociology, University of Salzburg

‘This book is ambitious, compelling and well-executed, challenging the common wisdom that, ultimately, these parties can’t cooperate and communicating that message in reader-friendly prose.’ Tim Bale, Professor of Politics, Queen Mary, University of London, and author of European Politics: A Comparative Introduction

‘This excellent book, written by two leading researchers on populist parties, is on the cutting edge of the new ‘international’ turn in populism studies. Work on radical right parties has long been focused on explaining their origins and impact on domestic politics. This book is a significant contribution to a new research agenda that focuses on the international dimensions. It is a perfectly timed and significant contribution to the debate.’ Christopher Bickerton, Reader in Modern European Politics, University of Cambridge, and author of European Integration: From Nation-States to Member States


Duncan McDonnell is a Professor in the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University, Brisbane. He has published widely on right-wing populism. His current work focuses on radical right populist alliances in Europe and political party organisations.

Annika Werner is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University, focusing on party behaviour, representation, and public attitudes in Western democracies.

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