The main area of sustained populist growth in recent decades has been Western Europe, where populist parties have not only endured longer than expected, but have increasingly begun to enter government. Focusing on three high-profile cases in Italy and Switzerland – the Popolo della Libertà (PDL), Lega Nord (LN) and Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP) – Populists in Power is the first in-depth comparative study to examine whether these parties are indeed doomed to failure in office as many commentators have claimed.

Albertazzi and McDonnell’s findings run contrary to much of the received wisdom. Based on extensive original research and fieldwork, they show that populist parties can be built to last, can achieve key policy victories and can survive the experience of government, without losing the support of either the voters or those within their parties.

Contributing a new perspective to studies in populist politics, Populists in Power is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as scholars interested in modern government, parties and politics.

chapter 1|16 pages

From periphery to power

Populists in Western Europe

chapter 2|17 pages

Forza Italia and the Popolo della Libertà

chapter 3|17 pages

The Lega Nord

chapter 4|18 pages

The Schweizerische Volkspartei

chapter 5|36 pages


chapter 6|26 pages

Pledges vs actions in government

chapter |18 pages


Populists and power