By Will Allchorn and Jocelyn Evans (University of Leeds)
The next 2018 local election looks very likely to record the completion of the full party life-cycle for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). For most of its history, UKIP was electorally irrelevant. Founded in 1993 as a way of converting Conservatives to hard Euroscepticism, its early attempts at electoral success were thwarted by infighting and a stronger Eurosceptic opponent (such as James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party). Briefly successful under the leadership of Robert Kilroy-Silk in 2004, it wasn’t until Nigel Farage, a former City banker and one of UKIP’s first MEPs, assumed the leadership for the second time in November 2010 that the party experienced a step-change in its electoral success, transforming UKIP from a single-issue movement into a party much closer to the populist radical right party type prevalent elsewhere in Europe, fusing anti-EU politics with socially conservative, anti-migrant, and anti-elitist messages.
By Eelco Harteveld and Sarah de Lange
The April 2017 Dutch national elections received an unusual amount of attention from international media outlets like the New York Times, the Economist, or CNN. Many commentators regarded the elections as a first potential sign of a Patriotic Spring in which populist radical right parties would blossom. They believed that - following the Brexit and Trump victories in 2016 - anything was possible for the populist radical right. The commentators expected the Dutch populist radical right Party for Freedom (PVV) to become the largest party in parliament and speculated that its leader Geert Wilders could become the Dutch prime minister. The incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) added to the expectations by framing the elections as a run-off between his party and the PVV, or between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ populism. He described the elections as the ‘quarter finales’, and thus a trial run for the German and French elections later that year.
By Carl Berning and Kai Arzheimer
The 2017 general election disrupted the German party system. The press called it a “tectonic shift” and a “historic election”, but what exactly happened? The short answer: a radical populist right party, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), is part of the 19th German Bundestag. The long answer involves the transformation of a new party, a migration crisis, and substantial losses for the Social and Christian Democrats.