The Impact of Populist Radical-Right Parties on Immigration Policy Agendas: A Look at the Netherlands
In the run-up to the 2017 Dutch parliamentary elections, the radical-right, anti-immigration Party for Freedom (PVV) and the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) were locked in fierce competition. Immigration and integration, core issues for the PVV and its controversial leader, Geert Wilders, were at the heart of the debate. In the end, the VVD beat out its radical-right opponent, earning the most votes and leading some commentators to proclaim the election a victory for mainstream liberal democratic values.
Yet direct influence, in the form of winning elections and entering office, is not the only way to exert political power and shape policy outcomes, as this report makes clear. In many Western European countries, radical-right parties such as the PVV have successfully influenced policymaking indirectly by putting pressure on other parties to advance stricter migration policy proposals in order to compete for votes.
This report looks beyond election results to examine how and under what conditions radical-right parties have had an impact on immigration policymaking in Western Europe. Taking the Netherlands as a case study, it examines the challenges many such parties face in translating fiery campaign rhetoric into policy after entering office and their relative strengths in shifting political agendas while in opposition. It also assesses the strategies more mainstream parties have adopted in an attempt to limit the growth of the populist radical right.
II. How Do Populist Radical-Right Parties Influence Immigration Policymaking?
A. Direct Influence on Immigration Policymaking
B. Indirect Influence on Immigration Policymaking
III. Populist Radical-Right Parties and Immigration Policymaking in the Netherlands
A. The Direct Influence of the PVV in Government, 2010–12
B. The PVV’s Indirect Influence during the 2017 Election Campaign
A. Including Populist Radical-Right Parties in Government
B. Excluding Populist Radical-Right Parties from Government
C. Addressing the Concerns of People Voting for Populist Radical-Right Parties