L to R: Geert Wilders of The Netherlands, Italy’s Matteo Salvini, Germany’s Jörg Meuthen, and France’s Marine Le Pen, May 2019 (Luca Bruno/AP)
Through the spring and summer of 2020, amid the battle to check the spread of Coronavirus across Europe, the Populism in Action Project spoke via video with its Research Fellows to assess the effect of the pandemic on right-wing populist parties and their countries.
In May, Principal Investigator Daniele Albertazzi and Co-Investigator Stijn van Kessel spoke to EA Worldview’s Scott Lucas about the background to PiAP and its approach to studying populist radical right parties in Europe: how they develop mass political organizations, how they engage their members, and how they communicate with them and the public at large.
In July, Adrian Favero, the Research Fellow on Switzerland, discussed how the Swiss People’s Party communicates with its members and core supporters. In the video, he explains how the party complements its online activity with an investment of resource and energy into “traditional” means of communication — face-to-face meetings, events in public places, and legacy media such as print newsletters, local papers, and radio stations.
Judith Sijstermans, Research Fellow in Belgium, spoke to Scott Lucas about the recent development of the Vlaams Belang Party in Flanders. Her interview outlines how how the party is altering its public image and building support, for instance through local associations running food banks and similar support projects for people affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
In September, Mattia Zulianello, Research Fellow for Italy, discussed with Daniele Albertazzi the organizational development of Matteo Salvini’s League — a unique case of a regionalist party trying to establish itself as a national (and nationalist) one. He explained how the party’s traditional model of an engaged membership is evolving through the use of new media.
And Niko Hatakka spoke to us about how the Finns Party became a member of the populist radical right. He discussed changes in internal culture and organization as the party’s support in the country has grown under leader Jussi Halla-aho.
Join us for Season 2 of PiAP’s VideoCast in early 2021 as the Research Fellows evaluate the findings of their fieldwork on the parties, their operations, and their memberships.