From Griping to Governing: The Case of All for Latvia!

Daunis Auers (University of Latvia)

Over the space of just five years, the radical right populist All for Latvia! political party has gone from winning just a 1.48% share of the vote in the 2006 Latvian parliamentary election, to entering government in a three-party coalition in October 2011. This paper presents a case study of the roots of this electoral success, arguing that it can be attributed to three factors: (i) In contrast to other parties in Latvia, All for Latvia! is a genuine grass-roots movement with a wide-spread, active and mobilized membership; (ii) the alliance with For Fatherland and Freedom / Latvia’s National Independence Movement provided VL! with the financial resources needed to campaign in Latvian elections; (iii) since its electoral alliance and then merger with the nationalist For Fatherland and Freedom / Latvia’s National Independence Movement party it has increasingly adopted a more moderate programmatic “master frame” developed by radical-right populist parties in other European states, that is more acceptable to the mainstream public; and (iv) a genuinally charismatic leader.

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