Open Access

Populism as a Factor of Destabilisation in Consolidated Democracies


This study offers a discussion of the dangers to the stability of political systems in consolidated democracies posed by contemporary populism, with a particular focus on the dynamic development of extreme right-wing populism. The author considers the consequences of efficient populist campaigns, such as Brexit in Great Britain, lowered trust towards the United States under Trump’s administration and practices followed by the Law and Justice party (PiS) under the leadership of Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland, which seem especially destructive for liberal democracy. Further examples are those of Hungary and Turkey, where the political systems have eroded into semi-consolidated democracy in the case of the former and an authoritarian system in the latter case. A comparative analysis of freedom indices indicates some dangers related to de-consolidation of the democratic system in Poland. Furthermore, the study points out dangers arising from the transformation of soft populism, understood as communication rhetoric oriented towards the concentration of power in the hands of populist leaders, which clearly paves the way for the dismantling of consolidated democracy in favour of an authoritarian system. The conclusions of the study outlines a variety of actions which can be undertaken to protect the achievements of liberal democracy.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Political Science, Local Government and Administration