Sorina Soare on “Romanian populism and transnational political mobilization”

Soare, Sorina. (2023). “Romanian populism and transnational political mobilization.” In: The Impacts of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on Right-wing Populism in Europe. (eds). Gilles Ivaldi and Emilia Zankina. European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS). March 8, 2023. Brussels.

Download Report on Romania

Once considered a partial exception to the recent diffusion of populism worldwide, Romania saw Radical Right populism return to Parliament in 2020. The Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) successfully campaigned on a platform of defending the Christian faith, freedom, the traditional family, and the nation. Although the party was initially considered the result of individual entrepreneurship linked to its founding leaders, it has successfully built on diffused networks of societal activism whose origins could be traced back to the early 2000s. However, the AUR’s track record of discourse aligned with Kremlin rhetoric calling for Western economic, political and cultural hegemony to be resisted and rolled back saw a temporary decline in voters’ support for the party. However, the party managed to rebuild consensus strategically by drawing on voters’ increased anxiety regarding the economic effects of the war. This report offers a cogent analysis of the political performance of the AUR, examining the party’s formative phase as well as its evolution since 2020, alongside a discussion of the impact of the war in Ukraine on Romanian party politics.

Keywords: Radical Right; populism; Romania; reunification; nativism; societal activism.

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