Open Access

Right-Wing Populist Party Leadership in Sweden: One of a Kind or one of the Crowd?


Are right-wing populist parties fundamentally different from other types? This article explores one aspect of what we call the exceptionalist thesis. The thesis could be applied to a wide range of party characteristics, but here we focus on leadership. In this context, our case study is of the Sweden Democrats (SD). First, we examine how SD selects its leader. Second, we assess how leadership works in practice in SD, especially regarding party management. We also review how this leadership style has gone down with voters. We mix our own interpretation of these data with other scholars’ assessments. Generally, we find little evidence, at least in this exploratory inquiry, to support the exceptionalist thesis.