ÖZP 2002/3 S.265-280
RIGHT-WING POPULISM AND EXTREMISM IN EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE
The essay deals with the emerging radical right and populist parties as well as movements in the East-Central European countries after the system change, focusing the analysis on the so called reform countries of the Visegrádgroup. Although some continuities with similar tendencies of the inter-war period exist, the author explains the emergence of right-wing-extremism and populism rather by the social strains and frustrations, the political conflicts and identity-crises triggered by the transformation process. While traditional forms of right-wing extremism remain weak and isolated in the new democracies, populism has become very strong. It is supported by the new wave of nationalism in the region and becomes especially dangerous in countries in which the political centre does not clearly demarcate itself from right-wing populist parties, or where populism even permeates conservative centre-right parties. New electoral data show a decline of such tendencies, a definite sign of the democratic consolidation process in the region. According to the author, the prospect of European integration had a constraining effect on extremist and populist tendencies, and the successful conclusion of the Eastern enlargement process will further contribute to the democratic consolidation of these transition countries.