Cas Mudde

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A protest against the AfD and rightwing extremism in Berlin, Germany, 3 February 2024. Photograph: KM Krause/Rex/Shutterstock

The AfD may have some electoral success. But the protests against it are stronger still

The idea of banning the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party seems to me a lot like magical thinking. Outlaw them – poof, they’re gone! But the case that the entire party (rather than individual statements) represents a clear and present danger to our democracy is far from watertight. Imagine losing! And in some regions of Germany the AfD represents a third of the electorate. Excluding all of them from participating? Not a good idea.

Only a few weeks ago, the prospects for combating the far right looked pretty dismal.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sahra Wagenknecht at the launch of her new party Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance – Reason and Fairness in Berlin, Germany, 8 January 2024. Photograph: Bernd von Jutrczenka/AP

Germany’s favourite “firebrand politician”, Sahra Wagenknecht, has finally launched her long-awaited new party, the awkwardly named Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW) – Reason and Fairness. After years of speculation, the German and some of the international media went into overdrive, predicting that the “leftwing conservative” party (Wagenknecht talks about combining job security, higher wages and generous benefits with a restrictive immigration and asylum policy) would “shake up” the German party system and “could eat into the far right’s support”.

But is a party led by Wagenknecht, a former member of the far-left Die Linke (The Left) party, really the “miracle cure” for the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD)?…  Seguir leyendo »

Geert Wilders at an election night event in Scheveningen, the Netherlands, 22 November 2023. Photograph: Remko de Waal/ANP/AFP/Getty Images

Two things were already clear months before Dutch election day: the Netherlands would have a new prime minister and dozens of new parliamentarians. Forty sitting members of parliament, a quarter of the Tweede Kamer (lower house), and, even more striking, three of the four leaders of the outgoing conservative-led coalition had announced their departure from national politics. Ironically, in this sea of electoral change, it was the far-right mainstay, Geert Wilders, the soon-to-be longest-sitting MP, who would emerge the big winner.

How do we make sense of the political earthquake that has put Wilders and his PVV party in first place and how will it affect Dutch and European politics?…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Giorgia Meloni is a relatively untested political leader, who is dependent upon two seasoned politicians, both with huge egos.’ Photograph: Marco Ravagli/Future Publishing/Getty Images

The first far-right prime minister in postwar western Europe will be a woman: Giorgia Meloni. Assuming the exit polls are right, which is likely as they are in line with the last polling before the elections, the far right-dominated “centre-right” bloc will win about 42% of the vote. Because of the disproportionate system, and the lack of an electoral coalition between the centre-left Democratic party and the reformed Five Star Movement, this will give them a massive majority in parliament.

The most important change is in the internal power dynamics within the “right bloc”. Until 2018, the coalition was dominated by Silvio Berlusconi, who was problematic from all kind of perspectives, but he was not far right.…  Seguir leyendo »

De qué se nutre el populismo

Tenemos que hablar de una palabrita que parece ubicua en estos tiempos. Todo el mundo la utiliza: hombres y mujeres, e incluso en boca de niños la he oído. Hablo, por supuesto, de populismo. En la actualidad es imposible leer un artículo sobre política sin toparse con ella. Prácticamente todas las elecciones o referendos se encuadran en la pugna entre un populismo envalentonado y una clase dirigente en horas bajas. No hay espacio para nada más.

No me malinterpreten: el populismo es un concepto útil para comprender la situación política actual de Europa y de muchos otros lugares, pero solo si se cumplen estrictamente dos condiciones.…  Seguir leyendo »

Geert Wilders addressed the media in The Hague on Thursday. Robin Utrecht/European Pressphoto Agency

The parliamentary election in the Netherlands on Wednesday was predicted to be the next populist show of strength after the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election. The Dutch would be the first of a number of European countries to succumb to the right-wing populists’ siren songs in 2017, with the French not far behind.

It didn’t work out that way.

Geert Wilders, who is all too often described as a bleach blond or referred to as “the Dutch Trump,” did not defeat the conservative prime minister, Mark Rutte. In fact, he didn’t come close.

With more than 95 percent of the vote counted, Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Geert Wilders, the leader of the PVV, launches his 2017 election campaign in Spijkenisse. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

The Dutch will vote in parliamentary elections on 15 March and, whatever the outcome, will set the stage for key elections across Europe this year – starting with the first round of the French presidential election on 23 April. Seldom has Europe followed Dutch elections so closely, and seldom have they been so unpredictable. So what can Europe expect from the Netherlands and what can we learn?

For decades Dutch elections were the most boring in western Europe, with the vast majority of people voting for the same party their whole life, creating only small electoral shifts. This changed in 2002, because of the shock effect of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the rise of the populist Pim Fortuyn, cut short by his murder nine days before the 2002 general election.…  Seguir leyendo »