Between party-systems and identity-politics: the populist and radical right in Estonia and Latvia



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Taylor & Francis Online


The article explores party-based populist and radical right looking at the cases of Latvia’s National Alliance (NA) and of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE). The research question is: How does the intersection between the specificities of party-systems and particularistic identity-politics either facilitate or complicate the political engagements of EKRE and NA? This piece demonstrates that whereas the Latvian party-system provides the opportunity structure for the inclusion of NA as a legitimate partner into the government coalition, Estonia’s mainstream political parties keep on excluding EKRE from the halls of power. This occurrence is highly subject to the different ways that the two-party systems have been dealing with parties suspected of pro-Kremlin leanings (Estonia: Eesti Keskerakond/Centre Party; Latvia: Saskaņa/Harmony). Meanwhile, the socio-psychological campaigns of both EKRE and NA over immigration and the refugee crisis tend to interlink these two policy-areas with the collective memories of ‘colonization’ under the Soviets and the collective anxieties of becoming ‘colonized’ again by others. This socio-psychological strategy has enabled both parties to augment their public appeal.



populist and radical right, migration crisis, Latvia, Estonia, Baltic States, Populism