Swaying the disgruntled floating voter. The rise of populist parties in contemporary Dutch politics.

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Series Details No.113, February 2010
Publication Date February 2010
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This paper accounts for the rise of populist parties in the Dutch political landscape. Party politics in the Netherlands has long been dominated by three established party families, but since the rise of Pim Fortuyn in 2002, populist parties seem to have taken an important position in Dutch politics.

This contribution will argue that the upsurge in populist electoral success can be explained by taking into account a combination of independent variables: the openness of the electoral system, the availability of the electorate, the responsiveness of established parties and the supply of credible populist parties. Accordingly, populist parties in the Netherlands have benefited from the highly proportional electoral system and the availability of a large reservoir of floating voters. At the same time, the established parties failed to sufficiently address the salient issues of immigration and integration of minorities at the time of the 2002 general elections. Finally, in the eyes of the electorate the List Pim Fortuyn and Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party have proven to be credible alternatives to the established mainstream parties.

Although the explanatory model is here only tested by means of the Dutch case, it can be expected that the populist electoral performance in other countries rests on the same logic as outlined in this paper.

Source Link http://www.sussex.ac.uk/sei/documents/sei-working-paper-no-113.pdf
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