Local parties, local ideas
Independent local parties have been on the rise in recent elections in the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavian countries. Despite previous predictions that they would disappear, these small political parties, only competing on the local level of government, have persisted. New ones have even appeared. Knowledge on their ideology is limited, but they are sometimes referred to as populist or at least more populist then national parties. Theorizing that dictionary methods do not differentiate between close but distinct ideologies, ‘localism’ is proposed as an alternative ideological characterization. Looking at Dutch local parties in the 2018 election, a content-analysis is performed on party programs to test whether these parties are ideologically better identified as populist or localist. Taking 29 cases, we find that no local parties are truly populist, while a few are localist. Additionally, we find that some local parties mix morality-references with community-centrism. Localism centers around a strong connection to the local community combined with a perceived difference between local and national politics. We also conclude that populism might be better conceived as centering around the relationship between the people and the elite, rather than the people or the elite themselves.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen