Religious Appeals and Right-wing Populist Parties in Central Europe

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Central Europe is experiencing an unprecedented surge in the electoral success of right-wing populist parties. While the electoral success may not be unexpected, the frequent use of religious appeals by these parties is in the context of declining religiosity throughout Central Europe. The strategic use of religious appeals by right-wing populist parties is seemingly at odds with the definition of populism by leading populist scholars, who claim that populist parties seek to represent “the volonté générale (general will) of the people” (Mudde 2004, 543; Pew 2018). This study explores the use of religious appeals by right-wing populist parties in Central Europe as a strategic response both to electoral competition with other political parties and as the supply in response to a demand by an electorate.


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