Staying Power: Radical-Right Coalition Partners and Government Durability


In recent history, radical-right parties have seen their inclusion in ruling coalitions become much more common. Where 30 years ago they participated in roughly 1 in 20 cabinets that emerged in European nations, today they participate in nearly 1 in 4. While many scholars agree this has had stark effects on the level of democracy and civil liberties in the countries in which they govern, not much is known of the effect their government membership has on the legislature itself. In this paper, I argue this trend has led to more unstable governments in Europe. By analyzing over 200 parliamentary coalitions in the region, I demonstrate that radical-right inclusion in parliament leads to shorter cabinet duration and an elevated level of cabinet defections. Importantly, these results hold not only when the radical-right holds the prime minister’s office, but even as they serve merely as junior coalition members. Such results demonstrate the stark effects of the rising trend of radical-right success may be much more pervasive than previously understood.


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