Explaining Citizen Attitudes to Strategies of 'Democratic Defence' in Europe: A resource in response to contemporary challenges to liberal democracy?

Sjifra de Leeuw*, Angela Bourne

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


It has long been speculated that banning parties from participation in elections may be counterproductive because it might provoke societal resistance. Using the European Social Survey (2002–2010; N = 195,405), our study suggests otherwise. We demonstrate that party bans enjoy the legitimacy of majority support. This holds true irrespective of countries’ resilience to extremist influences (or lack thereof) resulting from “institutional intolerance,” electoral entry barriers and authoritarian legacies. Individual orientations toward the democratic establishment do matter to a small extent: citizens with authoritarian tendencies and low system support are less supportive, while this is less so for citizens with extremist ideological orientations. Even though party bans entail significant democratic dilemmas, this study reveals societal resources supportive of repressive responses to extremist parties.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)694–710
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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