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date: 03 August 2021

p. 624. The populist leaderlocked

p. 624. The populist leaderlocked

  • Cas Mudde
  •  and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser


A common feature of populism is its reliance on strong leaders who are able to mobilize the masses and/or conduct their parties with the aim of enacting radical reforms. Populism is often guided by strong leaders, who, through their behavior and speech, present themselves as the voice of the people. “The populist leader” describes the characteristics of the charismatic strongman, such as Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. Yet, some populist actors portray themselves as voices of the people by using their gender, profession, and ethnicity. There are three types of populists: outsiders (very rare), insider-outsiders (often the most successful), and insiders (also very rare).

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