Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


Radical right-wing populist parties have recently emerged throughout Europe, but the electoral success among these parties is incredibly inconsistent. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’ Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) has become established in the country’s political system, while the British National Party (BNP) and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) struggle to gain even a single seat in British parliament. Models outlining a formula for the rise and success of populist parties can help explain why some parties achieve an electoral breakthrough and others do not. Researcher of radical right populism Pippa Norris’ model of electoral success is divided into a political demand side that focuses on the public grievances driving these parties, and a political supply side that focuses on internal party activity as well as external factors shaping opportunity structure. This essay compares Britain’s two radical right populist parties, the BNP and the UKIP, with the PVV in the Netherlands, and applies Norris’ framework to explain the greater electoral success of the PVV. It concludes that while Britain and Netherlands are similar in terms of political demand, populist parties have seen more success in the Netherlands because supply-side factors are more favorable.