Date of Award

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Janet Laible

Abstract

This paper examines the causes of the resurgence of populism and nationalism in status quo Central and Eastern Europe. It analyzes the case studies of Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic in order to test the two explanations of this resurgence. The proposed explanations include effects of transition as the causes of the observed phenomenon, while the second one emphasizes the process of EU accession as the primary cause. The findings support that the loss of social welfare benefits during transition contribute to the success of populist parties. In addition, the unique political situation of CEECs that had allowed populist parties to gain opposition spots through which it was convenient to promote an anti-establishment agenda. The accession to the EU in 2004 did not directly contribute to a negative perception of democracy or support for populist parties, however, democratic deficit of the EU and lack of coherent and sensible policy allowed the populist parties to use the EU as “the elite” against which they could mobilize support. I conclude that support of populist and nationalist parties heavily depends on post-truth and construction of economic issues, which is the same political strategy used by parties and politicians both in CEECs and other European states.

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