Event Date: 15 – 17 May 2019
Richmond University – The American University in London
Richmond TW10 6JP
A Century of Radical Right Extremism: New Approaches
Manès Weisskircher (TU Dresden and European University Institute) – The Radical Right in Subnational Government – Radical or Tamed? Evidence from Austria
Despite the growing number of studies on the radical right in government, contemporary scholarship has neglected one crucial dimension: the importance of subnational government participation. A focus on the subnational level promises important theoretical and empirical insights. Many radical right parties govern first, or even only, at this level – therefore, these parties actually play an important role in regional and local politics. But what kind of impact do they have there? Do they follow a radical agenda or are they tamed when in subnational government? Do their actions present a radical break from previous politics or is it business as usual? This paper addresses the impact of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) on two of its core issues – immigration and integration as well as law and order. Even before reentering national government in Austria at the end of 2017, the FPÖ had already been in government coalitions with the center-right ÖVP in Upper Austria and the center-left SPÖ in Burgenland; both since 2015. Moreover, the FPÖ had participated in several other governments at the Austrian regional level and local level both recently and in previous decades. Methodologically, this paper analyzes claims and policies on immigration and integration as well as law and order reported in national and regional newspapers. Ultimately, this study adds to the growing literature on the radical right in government by looking at the neglected, but important, subnational polity level.