Populists in Power

Issue Date April 2019
Volume 30
Issue 2
Page Numbers 70-84
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Once in office, populist parties invariably establish an illiberal order that displays four characteristics: reliance on charismatic leadership; incessant political polarization; the colonization of the state by loyalists, accompanied by the undermining of liberal institutions; and the systematic use of state-sponsored patronage. Populists in power tend to display strong resilience as long as the above characteristics are in place. But if one or more of them cease to exist, a populist-run nation will follow one of the following pathways: 1) Populism entrenches itself and becomes systemic, inducing liberal parties to shift in a populist direction; 2) populism turns into outright autocracy; or 3) populism is defeated at the polls by liberal forces, which return to power.

About the Author

Takis S. Pappas is the author of Populism and Crisis Politics in Greece (2014) and Populism and Liberal Democracy: A Comparative and Theoretical Analysis (2019), and the coeditor (with Hanspeter Kriesi) of European Populism in the Shadow of the Great Recession (2015).

View all work by Takis S. Pappas