Master of Arts
Department or Program
In this study, I try to explain-as other scholars have-the growing success of radical right parties in Europe. I also address conceptualization and classification issues. Contrary to other scholars, I compare party performance across two different elections: European and National. Also unlike the vast majority of studies that focus exclusively on Western Europe, this study looks more broadly at all members of the European Union, including those in Central Eastern Europe. My main argument is that radical right will perform better in European than in national elections. In explaining why parties should perform better in the former rather than the latter, I emphasize the impact of Reif & Schmitt’s (1980) second order national elections theory and its implications, and of the electoral system. I also test the impact of one of the most denominated determinants of the radical right success in the national elections. My findings confirm that radical right parties generally perform better in European elections and that it is mostly because of their second order national contest nature. Electoral system is also significant, in cases where it differs. Testing for the difference in the radical right parties’ performance between national and European elections and for the impact of various indicators on the success of the radical right in national elections also allowed me to reconsider the importance of some of the most denominated determinants of the success of the radical right and evaluate the validity of the second order national elections model.