Who is populist in Central and Eastern Europe? Comparative analysis of prime ministers' populist discourse

Bojana Kocijan


This article measures populist discourse among prime ministers in new Central and Eastern European democracies using a type of textual analysis called holistic grading. The article first offers a definition of populism as discourse and then measures populist discourse through grading political speeches by contemporary prime ministers in Central and Eastern Europe. It then presents prime ministers’ populist scores and discusses positive cases of populism among prime ministers confirmed by holistic grading. Despite the general feeling that we live in populist zeitgeist, populism is rare and occasional phenomenon in Central and Eastern European executive politics. Despite populism has often been associated with violations of democratic structure and authoritarian experiments, data in this study implicate that these violations are more likely related to undemocratic political culture in general, rather than to populism in particular. Where populism does coincide with already undemocratic political mindsets, these violations tend to be more dangerous for democratic standards. 


populism, discourse, textual analysis, prime ministers, Central and Eastern Europe

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14267/cjssp.2015.01.04


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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X