Cover Osteuropa 6-8/2019

In Osteuropa 6-8/2019

Swan song or new beginning
On populism in Romania

Sorina Soare

Deutsche Fassung


Eastern Europe’s post-communist countries provided an ideal breeding ground for the development of populism. Romania stood out as a test laboratory. Populist parties came to power in the parliament earlier in Romania than elsewhere. Peoples’ tribunes set the “people” against the “elite” and mobilised their voters with nationalist bluster. They disparage the principles of liberal democracy such as the law, the division of power and civil and minority rights. However, after the elections of 2008, no more populist parties were represented in the parliament. The reasons for this are ambivalent. On the one hand, socio-economic changes have caused the voter base to shrink. On the other, the centrist parties have incorporated the issues espoused by the populists as their own, and in so doing, have absorbed their members. It would be premature to claim that populism has been defeated.

(Osteuropa 6-8/2019, pp. 179–190)