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Unpublished Paper
Parties after Success: Why some radical right parties persist and others collapse
  • Antonis A. Ellinas, College of the Holy Cross
In the past three decades radical right parties have made important electoral advances in most countries across Western Europe. In some cases such parties have managed to endure and grow after their initial electoral breakthroughs, while in other cases they quickly collapsed. To understand the reasons for their divergent trajectories the paper focuses on the development of four radical right parties after their initial breakthroughs: the French National Front, the Austrian Freedom Party, the German Republikaner and theSwedish New Democracy. It examines three different factors affecting their trajectories: the strategic responses of mainstream competitors; the positioning of radical right parties in the competitive space; and their internal attributes, like organization and leadership. The party finds no support for the first explanation and some support for the latter two. The analysis shows how electoral success sets in motion a process of internal reorganization, induced by membership expansion and by a push for centralization. In the two successful parties, reorganization facilitated organizational growth and leadership consolidation, while in the two failed cases, it led to organizational disarray and leadership feuds.
Publication Date
Summer August, 2008
Citation Information
Antonis A. Ellinas. "Parties after Success: Why some radical right parties persist and others collapse" (2008)
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