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The influence of radical right populist parties on law and order policy-making

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In many countries, be it in America (Trump), in Europe (Le Pen), or in Asia (Duterte), radical right populist leaders or parties succeed in gaining power. To what extent would they be able to influence policy-making? Do they really weight upon public decision-making? While the literature on populism and radical right populist parties (RRPP) is abundant, few authors have addressed the relationship between populist promises and policy-making. Yet it is crucial to assess the influence of RRPP nowadays. This article investigates the influence of a most likely case – the Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP) – on law and order policy-making. The focus is set on a traditional policy sector and on a party with a long institutionalized participation in power. Based on process-tracing, the results show that the SVP influence varies according to the stages of policy-making and to its instruments. Agenda-setting is more significantly influenced, and popular initiatives are an important component of the populist strategy. Results may be generalized to different countries beyond the Swiss case, as shown in the discussion and the conclusion.
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Keywords: Policy-making; Switzerland; influence; law and order; populism; process-tracing; public policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Université catholique de Louvain, ISPOLE, Mons, Belgium

Publication date: January 2, 2019

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