Populists in Power
Routledge – 2015 – 256 pages
Series: Extremism and Democracy
The main area of sustained populist growth in recent decades has been Western Europe, where populist parties have not only endured longer than expected, but have increasingly begun to enter government. Focussing on three high-profile cases in Italy and Switzerland – the Popolo della Libertà (PDL), Lega Nord (LN) and Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP) – Populists in Power is the first in-depth comparative study to examine whether these parties are indeed doomed to failure in office as many commentators have claimed.
Albertazzi and McDonnell’s findings run contrary to much of the received wisdom. Based on extensive original research and fieldwork, they show that populist parties can be built to last, can achieve key policy victories and can survive the experience of government, without losing the support of either the voters or those within their parties.
Contributing a new perspective to studies in populist politics, Populists in Power is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as scholars interested in modern government, parties and politics.
"As populist parties increasingly enter government coalitions we need solid academic research rather than received wisdom. Populists in Power is the first truly empirical systematic study on the topic, shattering many comforting old ‘truths’ and raising uncomfortable new issues"
Cas Mudde, Associate Professor,University of Georgia
"When mainstream parties can't prevent their populist rivals doing well in elections they can always take comfort in the fact that, if they ever do so well that they get into government, they're bound to make a mess of things, right? Wrong. In this fascinating book, McDonnell and Albertazzi take a look at all the available evidence - a good deal of which they themselves have gathered - and give the lie to this common and all-too-convenient wisdom"
Tim Bale, Professor of Politics, Queen Mary University of London
"This book represents a key development in the study of European populism, showing through rigorous research that populism in power is not what many expect it to be. As populism grows and develops in Europe, this book advances our knowledge in ways that challenge conventional understanding and allows us to make sense of the growing realities of populists in power"
Paul Taggart, Professor of Politics, University of Sussex
"Albertazzi and McDonnell do an excellent job in presenting the ideologies, organizational models and recent experiences in power of the most important Italian and Swiss populist parties. The findings of this timely analysis of populists in power make an important contribution to the study of West European party systems"
Hanspeter Kriesi, Stein Rokkan Chair of Comparative Politics, European University Institute, Florence
Chapter 1. Populists in Western Europe: From Periphery to Power Chapter 2. Forza Italia and the Popolo della Libertà Chapter 3. The Lega Nord Chapter 4. The Schweizerische Volkspartei Chapter 5. Elections Chapter 6. Pledges vs. Actions in Government Chapter 7. Members and Representatives - Reactions to Government Participation Chapter 8. Conclusions: Populists and Power Appendix 1. Summary of Relevant Political Events in Italy, 2008-2011 Appendix 2. Summary of Relevant Political Events: Switzerland 2003-2007 Index.
Daniele Albertazzi is a Senior Lecturer in European Media at the Department of Italian Studies, University of Birmingham, where he leads the Culture, Society and Communication programmes.
Duncan McDonnell is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University, Brisbane