Do populist parties support referendums? A comparative analysis of election manifestos in Europe

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Jean-Benoit Pilet, in collaboration with Sergiu Gherghina

New paper out in Electoral Studies.


Earlier research refers to populist parties as being advocates of a greater use of referendum. Yet, there has been no large-scale systematic test of this claim. This article addresses this gap in the literature and tests the relationship between populism and greater use for referendums in party manifestos. It analyzes 824 manifestos of 187 populist and non-populist parties in 27 Member States of the European Union between 1994 and 2018. We test if populist parties are virtually all in favor of a greater use of referendums and whether they would talk about referendums much more than non-populist parties.