The Breakthrough of Another West European Populist Radical Right Party? The Case of the True Finns


  • David Arter


The True Finn Party (PS), which gained virtually 10 per cent of the national vote at the 2009 European Parliament election, lacks a place in the comparative party literature and also defies ready classification. It has been perceived by its supporters as the most left-wing of the non-socialist parties; by Finnish media commentators as a case of right-wing populism; and by researchers as a distinctive centred-based populist party when viewed in a wider European perspective. Based on a careful study of its programmatic output since its inception in 1995, this article seeks to characterize the PS by reference to its core ideological features. It argues that it is in fact a populist radical right party – with national identity or Finnishness as its pivotal concept – albeit without the xenophobic extremism of such continental counterparts as the Danish People's Party or Austrian Freedom Party.