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Populist Democracies: Post-Authoritarian Greece and Post-Communist Hungary

Abstract

This article makes the case for a novel democratic subtype, populist democracy, indicating a situation in which both the party in office and at least the major opposition force(s) in a pluralist system are populist. Based on a minimal definition of populism as ‘democratic illiberalism’, and through the comparative analysis of post-authoritarian Greece and post-communist Hungary, the article reveals the particular stages, as well as the causal mechanisms, that may prompt the emergence of populist democracy in contemporary politics. It also points to the tendency of such systems to produce polarized two-party systems, and it calls for further research on the topic.

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Takis S. Pappas is Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece, and Marie Curie Research Fellow in the Department of Political Social Sciences at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. Contact email: takis.s.pappas@gmail.com.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

A. Bozóki (2008), ‘Consolidation or Second Revolution? The Emergence of the New Right in Hungary’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 24(2): 191231.

M. Canovan (1999), ‘Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy’, Political Studies, 47(1): 216.

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B. Fowler (2004), ‘Concentrated Orange: Fidesz and the Remaking of the Hungarian Centre-Right, 1994–2002’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 20: 80114.

S. Hanley , A. Szczerbiak , T. Houghton B. Fowler (2008), ‘Sticking Together: Explaining Comparative Centre-Right Party Success in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe’, Party Politics, 14(4): 387405.

K.A. Hawkins (2009), ‘Is Chavez Populist? Measuring Populist Discourse in Comparative Perspective’, Comparative Political Studies, 42(8): 10401067.

S. Levitsky L.A. Way (2010), Competitive Authoritarianism: The Origins and Evolution of Hybrid Regimes in the Post-Cold War Era (New York: Cambridge University Press).

B. Lomax (2007), ‘The Strange Death of “Civil Society” in Post-Communist Hungary’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 13(1): 4163.

C. Lyrintzis (2005), ‘The Changing Party System: Stable Democracy, Contested “Modernisation” ’, West European Politics, 28(2): 242259.

G.Th. Mavrogordatos (1984), ‘The Greek Party System: A Case of Polarized but Limited Pluralism?’, West European Politics, 7(4): 156169.

Y. Mény Y. Surel (2002), ‘The Constitutive Ambiguity of Populism’, in Y. Mény and Y. Surel (eds), Democracies and the Populist Challenge (Houndmills: Palgrave): 121.

C. Mudde (2004), ‘The Populist Zeitgeist’, Government and Opposition, 39(4): 541563.

I. Nicolacopoulos (2005), ‘Elections and Voters, 1974–2004: Old Cleavages and New Issues’, West European Politics, 28(2): 260278.

G. O'Donnell (1994), ‘Delegative Democracy’, Journal of Democracy, 5(1): 5569.

E. Palonen (2009), ‘Political Polarisation and Populism in Contemporary Hungary’, Parliamentary Affairs, 62(2): 318334.

Y. Papadopoulos (1989), ‘Parties, the State and Society in Greece: Continuity within Change’, West European Politics, 12(2): 5471.

T.S. Pappas (2003), ‘The Transformation of the Greek Party System Since 1951’, West European Politics, 26(2): 90114.

G. Pridham S. Verney (1991), ‘The Coalitions of 1989–90 in Greece: Inter-Party Relations and Democratic Consolidation’, West European Politics, 14(4): 4269.

A. Rajacic (2007), ‘Populist Construction of the Past and Future: Emotional Campaigning in Hungary between 2002 and 2006’, East European Politics and Societies, 21(4): 639660.

S. Seferiades (1986), ‘Polarization and Nonproportionality: The Greek Party System in the Postwar Era’, Comparative Politics, 19(1): 6993.

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Government and Opposition
  • ISSN: 0017-257X
  • EISSN: 1477-7053
  • URL: /core/journals/government-and-opposition
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