How populists wage opposition: Parliamentary opposition party behaviour and populism in Netherlands

T. Louwerse, Simon Otjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
151 Downloads (Pure)


This article analyses how populist parties wage opposition in parliament. The authors conceptualise opposition behaviour in terms of two independent dimensions: scrutiny (monitoring and criticising government actions) and policy-making (participating in or directly influencing legislative production). In line with the conceptualisation of populism as an opposition to the ruling elite in
name of ‘the people’, the authors hypothesis is that populist opposition parties are more likely to use scrutiny and less likely to use policy-making tools than non-populist opposition parties. Otjes and Louwerse study the Netherlands between 1998 and 2017 as a typical example of a consensus democracy, where
populist parties have a greater opportunity to win representation and use parliamentary tools (compared to majoritarian democracies). Their findings indicate that populist opposition parties are particularly less likely to engage in policy-making behaviour and somewhat more likely to engage in scrutiny behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-495
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number2
Early online date14-May-2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • opposition
  • parliament
  • populism
  • consensus democracy

Cite this