Affordable Access

The singing of sirens; when right-wing populists talk about “democracy” (the case of the “Rassemblement National” and the “Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs”)

  • Debras, François
Publication Date
Apr 13, 2019
External links


A significant part of the literature considers that right-wing populist parties are anti-democratic. According to some authors, these parties are opposed to democratic institutions. And for other authors, right-wing populism respects electoral rules, respects the institutional game but is opposed to the values of democracy. On the other hand, in the political field, right-wing populist parties consider themselves to be democratic parties. They present themselves as the defenders of the people, the promoters of a true democracy. Against the European Union, against other political parties, against immigration, against Islam etc We therefore think it could be interesting to ask the following questions: 1) How does right-wing populism define democracy? 2) Why does right-wing populism mobilize democracy in its speeches? To answer these questions, we propose to study the ideological productions of two parties: the "Rassemblement national" in France and the "Freiheitliche Partei Österreich" in Austria. The RN and the FPÖ are two parties historically classified on the far right. They are also referred to as right-wing populist parties. Both parties have transformed or modernized their speeches. From an electoral point of view, both parties have important electoral results and sit in many institutions. In addition, the RN and the FPÖ have both private and professional relationships (for example inside the “Europe of Nations and Freedoms” group). In relation to our research question, we decide to study all ideological productions of the RN and FPÖ (press releases, speeches, press conferences, open letters, draft laws,...). Our data collection is carried out on the parties' websites from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2018. These choices seem relevant to us for several reasons. First, these documents are approved by members of the party and publicly validated. Second, these documents allow us to compare different types of production. And thirdly, websites are real open windows. All the actors are introduced. The programs are developed. The projects are explained. The speeches are shared. Finally for our data analysis we proceed in three steps with three questions: 1) does right-wing populism mobilize the notion of democracy? (content analysis) 2) How does right-wing populism define democracy? (framing analysis) 3) Why does right-wing populism mobilize the notion of democracy? (critical discourse analysis).

Report this publication


Seen <100 times