Since the public a tion in 1969 of Ghit¸a˘ Ionescu and Ernest Gellner’s seminal edited collec tion on popu lism, both the success of popu list parties on the old contin ent and the liter at ure focus ing on them (recent addi tions being Albertazzi and McDonnell 2008 and Mudde 2007) have grown consid er ably. To under stand the differ ences between the end of the 1960s and today, we need only to remind ourselves of the follow ing:
• The popu lists’ sustained elect oral success across the contin ent from east to west, and the many differ ences between European polit ical and elect oral systems notwithstand ing, has dispelled the myth that popu lism is, by nature, not durable (as Taggart 2000 and Mény and Surel 2002 have argued). Indeed, popu list parties have some times been able to posi tion them selves among the largest parties in their respect ive coun tries, when they have not become the largest parties of all (as in Italy and Switzerland), and in success ive elec tions. Moreover, as the 18 per cent vote share achieved by the National Front (Front National, FN) in the first round of the French pres id en tial elec tions of 2012 shows, some popu lists have achieved their best results in recent years.