As World War II and the fall of communism cast a thunderous echo in historical memory, European governments are increasingly confronted with the rise of far-right political parties. In Germany, Hungary, and Italy (among others), absolute democratic reforms have removed countries from such legacies, yet some constituents appear to find dissatisfaction in their frameworks safeguarding liberalism. As well, paradoxically, countries in which liberalism has longer thrived, e.g., Western Europe’s United Kingdom, France, and Nordic nations, have become faced with far-right populist politicians gaining parliamentary influence.
Across Europe in the recent decade, far-right parties position themselves favorably in national and, particularly, regional elections, increasing from 1 percent of the vote in EU member states in the 1980s to almost 10 percent in the 2010s. In Spain, the proportion of votes garnered by the right-populist Vox party witnessed a significant increase from 2015 to 2019, moving from 10 to 15 percent. Alternative for German (AfD), platforming on anti-immigration and ethnonationalism, took 2017 by force, winning 12.6 percent of votes and receiving 94 seats in the Bundestag. In 2021, AfD dropped 13 seats but found favorability in the eastern German states of Saxony and Thuringia with 24.6 percent and 24 percent, respectively. The Sweden Democrats (SD), in their 2022 election, raised one percentage point to 17.0 percent, making them the third largest party in the Riksdag.