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date: 28 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents an introduction to different theories of party competition, as exemplified by the substantive puzzle of radical right-wing partisan rise. The first task, however, is to conceptualize radical right party fortunes within the context of competitive party systems. The next three sections discuss the initial rise of radical right parties through three lenses: spatial theories of party competition, institutional and historical mediators of current competitive opportunities for radical right entry, and non-spatial theories of party competition based on valence and issue ownership. This is followed by a report on research about the ongoing strategic interaction between radical right parties and their competitors after the former’s initial rise to electoral prowess. The chapter concludes with several general synthesizing hypotheses about the life cycle of political parties, with the radical right’s rise and possible future demise being a particular application.

Keywords: radical right, party competition, right-wing parties, competitive party system, political parties

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