Are Right-Wing Populist Parties a Threat to Democracy?

  • Marcus SpittlerEmail author


Whether right-wing populist parties pose a threat or a corrective for democracies has been a matter of extensive theoretical debate. This chapter examines the effect these parties exert on democratic quality by means of a comparative quantitative analysis. Focusing on democracies in Western and Eastern Europe, it takes a closer look at democracy’s partial regimes, such as the rule of law, representation, the public sphere, and participation. The results are twofold: First, in line with the theoretical expectations, right-wing populists have a negative effect on democratic quality when they are in government. Second, indirect effects caused by populists’ electoral successes are rare. While the presence of populists enhances participation and aspects of representation, they have a negative influence on the public sphere.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Democracy and DemocratizationWZB Berlin Social Science CenterBerlinGermany

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