Can a change in the leadership of a populist radical right party be traced among voters? The case of the Finns Party

Peter Söderlund, Kimmo Grönlund*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

What happens to the electorate of a populist radical right party when the party splits? Finland provides an excellent case for an analysis of this nature. In 2017, the Finns Party split due to an internal rift. Party leadership was taken over by members of the party's anti-immigrant faction, who, in the election of 2019, succeeded in replicating the party's previous electoral successes in 2011 and 2015. At the same time, the moderate faction that split from the party was wiped out in the election. In the election of 2023, the party gained yet another victory. Using the Finnish National Election Studies (2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023), we examine whether the party's transformation to a more anti-immigrant populist radical right party is reflected in the policy positions and sociodemographic composition of the party's electorate. Our findings show that the electorate came to reflect the change in leadership after the party split. Furthermore, we are able to demonstrate that the pattern prevails in the newest election of 2023 under the leadership of Riikka Purra.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47(1)
Pages (from-to)23-46
JournalScandinavian Political Studies
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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