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FOR 4/2019 communication: Populism Index 2019 - Highest support for populist parties since 1980

  • The Timbro Swedish think-tank presented the subsequent edition of the Authoritarian Populism Index. The aim of the index is, among others, to determine to what extent populist parties can pose a real threat to liberal democracy in the European Union and five other countries on our continent.
  • The measurement of support for populist parties, which are distinguished by, among others, the creation of conflicts between "people" and "elites", strong nationalism, striving to remove institutional restrictions on power or anti-capitalism, shows the strongest support for these parties since 1980.
  • The three parties included in the index that achieved the highest support in the last elections were: Fidesz (Hungary), Law and Justice (Poland) and Syriza (Greece).
  • At the end of 2018, the support for populist groups in the three countries exceeded 50%, based on the results of the last elections, and these were: Hungary, Greece and Italy. Poland ranked fourth in terms of support for populists (PiS and Kukiz'15).  The lowest support for populist parties in 2018 remained in: Malta, the UK and Ireland.
  • In the latest edition of the index, the average support for parties classified as populist in 33 European countries was just over 22%, and such groups gained the support of about 71 million voters (27%).
  • Among the strongest 55 parties on the Authoritarian Populism Index, more than half of them were founded before 2000, so they have been active on the political scene for almost twenty years.
  • Timbro uses the category of "authoritarian populism" to distinguish parties in the programmes of which, some populist demands sometimes appear from parties which, within the framework of a populist programme, express their opposition to the model of liberal democracy, such as: lack of acceptance for the division of power and power limitations, hostility towards procedures existing in democracy, creating a conflict between homogeneous communities and elites. Other features that Timbro experts were looking for were strong nationalism and anti-capitalist attitudes.
  • In many countries populist parties are opposition parties and traditional political parties refuse to cooperate with them. However, as many as 11 countries have populist parties ruling or co-ruling. They are: Hungary, Poland, Greece, Norway, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Switzerland and Austria.


Marek Tatała, FOR Vice President & economist

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