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Populism, Populists, and the Crisis of Political Parties

A Comparison of Italy, Austria, and Germany 1990–2015

Editors: Pallaver, Günther | Gehler, Michael | Cau, Maurizio

Annali dell'Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento / Jahrbuch des italienisch-deutschen historischen Instituts in Trient. Contributi / Beiträge, Vol. 34

(2018)

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About The Author

Michael Gehler studied History and German Literature at the University of Innsbruck (1981–1988); Associate Professor at the Institute for Contemporary History there (1999–2006); since 2006 Professor for Modern German and European History at the Institute of History of the University of Hildesheim; elected Jean-Monnet Chair for three times; Director of the Institute of Modern and Contemporary Historical Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) (2013–2017) and corresponding member of the ÖAW; Member of the Liaison Commitee of the Historians close to the European Commission; Research Topics: European Integration und International History, recent book: »Europa. Ideen – Institutionen – Vereinigung – Zusammenhalt«, Reinbek. Michael Gehler, Studium der Geschichte und Germanistik an der Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck (1981–1988), außerordentlicher Professor am Institut für Zeitgeschichte dort (1999–2006), Leiter des Instituts für Geschichte an der Universität Hildesheim und Jean-Monnet Chair (seit 2006), Direktor des Instituts für Neuzeit- und Zeitgeschichtsforschung (2013–2017) und korrespondierendes Mitglied der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, Forschungen u.a. zur europäischen Integration und Internationalen Geschichte, Publikationen zu Geschichte, Ideen, Vereinigung und Institutionen Europas, u.a. »Europa. Ideen – Institutionen – Vereinigung – Zusammenhalt«, Reinbek.

Abstract

The parliamentary elections of 2017 in Germany and Austria as well as the general elections in Italy 2018 have deeply changed the party and government system. The German party Alternative for Germany has been prominently elected into the parliament, the Austrian Freedom Party forms part of the government together with the Austrian People's Party, Italy has its first government of populists with the 5 Stars Movement and the Northern League. Those who seek to understand how these transformations came about in just a short period of time, will find some illuminating answers in this book. Analysis, developments, assessments and trends by renowned historians and political scientists prove that populism in these three countries has a history on which it can successfully build. This includes the crisis of historical parties which have continuously lost their political cohesiveness and trustworthiness. The parliamentary elections of 2017 in Germany and Austria as well as the general elections in Italy 2018 have deeply changed the party and government system. The German party Alternative for Germany has been prominently elected into the government, the Austrian Freedom Party forms part of the government together with the Austrian People's Party, Italy has its first government of populists with the 5 Stars Movement and the Northern League.

Those who seek to understand how these transformations came about in just a short period of time, will find some illuminating answers in this book. Analysis, developments, assessments and trends by renowned historians and political scientists prove that populism in these three countries has a history on which it can successfully build. This includes the crisis of historical parties which have continuously lost their political cohesiveness and trustworthiness.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Preface 5
Contents 7
Introduction 9
I. Historical Perspectives and Transformation Process 15
Michael Gehler: Different Paths toward Europe? Germany, Italy, and Austria 1945-2009 17
1. Preliminary remarks 17
2. Phases of development 17
3. Developments after 1945/1949 20
a. Together in the camp of the unsuccessful and the losers: Italy’s farewell to the monarchy and its peace treaty—occupation, division, and the founding of two states in Germany and the reestablishment of Austria (1945-1948/49) 20
b. Setting the course for western integration: The Federal Republic of Germany and Italy as the pioneers of Western Europe and Austria’s position of the center (1949-1969) 22
c. The 1970s: A policy of détente abroad and terrorism at home 27
d. Continued unification of Western Europe as a common goal: Italy and Germany as drivers and Austria as an outsider and silent partner of integration (the 1980s) 29
e. Cooperation and juxtaposition: German unification, political skepticism, and public agreement in Austria and Italy. Maastricht as a solution (1989-1993) 30
f. Domestic challenges, problems, and crises: Obstructed and inhibited action for Europe in the second half of the 1990s 32
4. Conclusion 36
Bibliography 38
Karin Priester: Right-wing Populism in Europe 45
I. Introduction 45
II. Populism as a protest movement 45
III. Common properties of right-wing populism 46
IV. The second generation of right-wing populists 47
V. Right-wing populism as exclusionary anti-establishment protest 49
VI. Types of right-wing populism 49
1. The ethno-nationalistic type 50
a. The Finns Party (originally The True Finns) 51
b. The Hungarian Case 51
2. The ethno-regionalist subtype 52
VII. The national-liberal type 53
1. The Norwegian Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) 53
2. The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) 54
a. The libertarian subtype 55
VIII. Reasons for the emergence of right-wing populism 56
1. The macrostructural level 56
2. The mesostructural level 56
3. The microstructural level 57
IX. Concluding remarks 58
Bibliography 60
Koen Abts / Rudi Laermans: Populism: Definitions, Questions, Problems,and Theories 63
1. Introduction 63
2. Defining populism: Mobilization, leadership and style, or ideology? 64
3. The core structure of populist ideology 66
4. Varieties of populism: Radical right, neoliberal, and radical left 69
5. Populism and democracy: Symptom, corrective, or threat? 72
6. Reactions to populism: The dilemma of “tolerance for the intolerant” 75
Bibliography 77
Maurizio Cau: Populism vs Constitutionalism. The Theoretical Core of Populist Ideology and the Foundationsof the Democratic System 81
1. Preliminary definitions. The conceptual spectrum of populism 81
2. Populism vs constitutionalism 84
3. The idea of a people 87
4. Popular sovereignty 88
5. The system of political representation 93
6. Conclusions 96
Bibliography 97
Günther Pallaver: Populism in the Mainstream Media. Germany, Austria, and Italy in Comparison 99
1. Introduction 99
2. Austria 103
3. The Federal Republic of Germany 105
4. Italy 108
5. Digression: The role of the new media 111
6. Populism as a variable of the media system 114
Bibliography 116
II. Political Actors. Shaping the Populist Challenge 121
Reinhold Gärtner: Jörg Haider and His Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs 123
1. Introduction 123
2. Jörg Haider: The early years 125
3. Electoral success 127
4. Who is number one, who is number two? 129
5. Haider and the BZÖ 130
6. Right-wing extremism 132
7. The end—What is left of the politician Jörg Haider 133
8. The FPÖ after Haider 135
Bibliography 137
Marco Brunazzo: The Northern League: Bossi, Salvini,and the Many Faces of Populism 139
1. Introduction 139
2. The LN’s populist ideology 142
3. Three challenges for the LN 147
4. The LN and the political discourse about the EU 149
5. Conclusion 153
Bibliography 154
Giovanni Orsina: Berlusconi as a Circumstantial Populist 157
1. Introduction 157
2. The transformation of the political 158
a. We want it all 159
b. Enlarging democracy 160
c. Deepening democracy 161
d. Processes of depoliticization 161
e. The crisis of representation 163
f. The competitive self-delegitimation of the political 164
3. Tangentopoli 166
4. Berlusconi’s Populism 170
Bibliography 176
Lutz Klinkhammer: Gianfranco Fini. From Neofascist “Dauphin” to anti-Fascist “Traitor” 181
1. Introduction 181
2. The newcomer 182
3. Berlusconi’s ally 187
4. Fini’s anti-populist turn 190
Bibliography 197
Frank Decker: “Alternative für Deutschland”. The Belated Arrival of Right-wing Populism in the Federal Republic 199
1. Introduction 199
2. Ideological placement and political objectives 202
3. Internal development and party split 206
4. Reaching new electoral heights due to the refugee crisis 209
5. Conclusion: On the path toward a six-party system? 212
Bibliography 215
Manfred Görtemaker: Angela Merkel and Romano Prodi: Antithesis of Populism? 217
1. Introduction 217
2. The case of Angela Merkel 219
a. A misfit to power: Accident or strategy? 219
b. Decisions on an ethical basis 222
c. The refugee crisis and European populism 224
d. Merkel’s fight against populism 227
3. The case of Romano Prodi 229
4. Merkel and Prodi: A comparison 232
Bibliography 234
III. European Political Parties, Their Response to the Populist Challenge, and Their Treatment of Populism 237
Steven Van Hecke / Alex Andrione-Moylan: Between Collaboration and Demarcation. The European People’s Party and the Populist Wave 239
I. Introduction 239
II. Liberal democracy, europe, the EPP, and the “populist threat” 240
1. Populism and European integration 240
2. The EPP and the challenges of European democracy 241
III. Mapping out a diverse set of strategies 243
1. The Challenge of European Christian Democracy 243
2. Fallout of the EPP’s broadening strategy 244
3. Populism among the ranks of the EPP 247
4. Rebels at the edge of Europe 251
IV. Conclusion 255
Bibliography 256
Giovanni Bernardini: Social Democracy and the Challenge of Populism 259
Bibliography 272
Hans Heiss: The Greens and Populism: A Contradiction in Terms? 277
1. The specter 277
2. The phenomenon of populism 279
3. New social and communicative configurations 280
4. The Greens: Opponents of populism? 283
5. The concurrent rise of the Greens and populist movements from 1980 onwards 286
6. Between coordination and fragmentation 288
7. The early beginnings of left-wing populism 290
8. Professionalized and ready for government, but Eurosceptic 291
9. A transition in European politics 293
10. Opposing right-wing populism: An opportunity to remodel the Green party 296
11. Learning from confrontations 297
Bibliography 299
Guido Thiemeyer: European Liberal Parties and the Challenge of Populism 303
1. Introduction 303
2. Liberal parties and populism: Examples 305
3. Conclusion 315
Bibliography 316
Anton Pelinka: Populism. A Short Conclusion to the Volume 319
1. Populism 319
2. Populism—form and methods 320
3. Populisms—substance: Exclusivity 322
4. Populism—who are the “Defining Others”? 325
5. Populism—party typology: A new class party or (and?) a new catch-all party 329
Bibliography 332
Index 333
Contributors 337