The Perils of Populist Radical Right Parties: The Case of the Bulgarian Attack Party

  •  Tatiana Rizova    


Populist radical right parties, such as the Bulgarian Attack Party, sow the seeds of ethnic discord and rally around authoritarian policies for sustaining domestic order. Scholars studying these political parties have focused on examining their leaders’ rhetoric, political messages, and electoral success, but have paid less attention to their effects on liberal democracy. This study assesses Attack’s impact on Bulgarian liberal democracy. Analysis of data from the 2008 European Social Survey suggests that party preference does not affect liberal democratic values such as attitudes toward torture and immigrants, but does help us predict people’s opinions on gay rights. None of Attack’s legislative proposals to curtail minority rights in the Bulgarian National Assembly were approved. In spite of its image as an anti-establishment party, Attack’s legislators supported Borisov’s cabinet in several no confidence votes between 2009 and 2012. Overall, Attack has had little impact on Bulgaria’s legislative and political process.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.