The French presidential election has already produced high drama, with Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen ultimately advancing to the second round on 7 May. But were their parallels with the first round of voting and developments in other European countries? Caterina Froio draws together three key ways in which the election has reflected Western European trends, but argues that Macron’s ability to successfully oppose the establishment from within stands out as unique in the European context.
Populist rhetoric increases pressure on overseas aid
The archetypal populist radical right voter is usually thought of as being male, with female voters less likely to back these parties in elections. But many of these parties have nevertheless drawn on a substantial share of support from women. Outlining results from a recent study, Niels Spierings writes that although there is a gender gap in support for populist radical right parties, focusing on their female supporters can provide a more nuanced understanding of their success.
The Dutch aren’t turning against immigration – the salience of the immigration issue is what drives Wilders’ support
The key story in the 2017 Dutch election campaign so far has been the high levels of support for Geert Wilders’ PVV in opinion polls. But what explains the PVV’s ability to attract voters? James Dennison, Andrew Geddes and Teresa Talò write that although Wilders’ success is frequently linked to hardening views on immigration, attitudes toward immigration in the Netherlands have actually remained fairly stable. The real root of the PVV’s support lies in the salience of the immigration issue itself, partially heightened by media coverage of recent increases in the numbers of migrants entering the country.
What It Takes to Truly Be ‘One of Us’
In U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan, publics say language matters more to national identity than birthplace
The tide of people moving across the world, be they immigrants or refugees, has sparked concern in Australia, Europe and the United States. In particular, the ethnic, linguistic and cultural background of migrants has triggered intense debates over the benefits and the costs of growing diversity and the risk of open borders to national identity. Unease over the cultural, economic and security ramifications of immigration helped to fuel the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, encourage the idea of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and broaden support for right-wing populist parties in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Radical right-wing populist parties have experienced a growth in support in several European countries over the last 15 years, but how do such parties adapt to power when they enter government? Tjitske Akkerman, Sarah de Lange andMatthijs Rooduijn write that although radical right-wing populist parties do become more mainstream in some respects when they enter office, this is largely only true in a procedural sense, with their policy platforms quickly becoming just as radical as before when they go back into opposition.