Analysis for El Pais by Dr. James Downes Department of Government and Public Administration - CUHK

Dr. James Downes contributed some important analysis for the leading Spanish Newspaper El Pais on populism in Europe. This is part of a global study of 50 other world leading academic experts on populism globally & CUHK as an institution is included in the report.


Title: “Donde se situa vox en la ultraderecha europea” (Findings from an Expert Survey on Populism  in Europe)


Report Link: 


Some brief assessments of classifying the Modern Far Right that Dr. Downes made in English below: (different to the Spanish below).

My overall Definition of the Far Right Party Family is as follows:


Contemporary Far Right parties (I treat the term “Far Right Party Families” as an umbrella term, which both (a) PRR & (b) ERW Parties are grouped under) in Europe are often grouped into two distinct ideological wings. It is first important to differentiate between populist radical right parties (PRR) and extreme right-wing parties (ERW). Drawing on key scholars such as Cas Mudde, there are three key features that characterize PRR parties. PRR parties have a nativist, authoritarian and largely populist ideology. Populism for PRR parties means that they portray themselves as the ‘outsiders’ in society and seek to overturn the existing political elite in society, through widespread anti-political establishment messages.


Importantly, PRR parties seek to work under the democratic confines of democracy and do not seek to overturn democracy. They do however reject the ‘liberal’ component of democracy through their opposition and intolerance towards immigrants/ethnic out groups such as Muslims. Key examples include the AfD in Germany. In contrast, ERW parties tend to reject being democratically elected and many of these parties’ historical roots can be traced back to post-world war II neo-fascism. Golden Dawn in Greece is one such example of an ERW party in contemporary European politics.


Some of the analysis from Dr. Downes below in Spanish:

(1) "Estos partidos, “en general, tienden a tener las mismas políticas y estrategias ideológicas sobre inmigración, al tratar de proteger a los blancos, el grupo étnico principal, y reducir el número de inmigrantes”, pero defienden “políticas muy diferentes en materia socioeconómica”, señala James F. Downes, profesor de la Universidad China de Hong Kong e investigador del Centro para el Análisis de la Derecha Radical."


(2) Algunos expertos consideran que determinados partidos de los mencionados están en el límite del ultraderechismo o, incluso, que en ningún caso deberían incluirse en este análisis. 


El profesor Downes, por ejemplo, cree que están en ese límite el Foro para la Democracia holandés (para él, “nacionalista conservador”) y el Partido Popular Suizo: “No es todavía plenamente un partido de derecha populista radical”, dice...