Militant Democracy and Successors to Authoritarian Ruling Parties in Post-1945 West Germany and Italy

Angela Bourne, John Veugelers

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This article contributes to the empirical literature on militant democracy and successor party bans by comparing post-1945 West Germany and Italy. These countries shared a right-authoritarian past but their tolerance of right-authoritarian parties differed. Looking for reasons behind the ban of the Sozialistische Reichspartei Deutschlands and the survival of the Movimento sociale italiano, this study tests five conditions: (1) ambiguity toward – if not open approval of – violence; (2) absence of effective alternatives to proscription; (3) securitization; (4) veto player agreement; (5) veto player incentives. We find that securitization is a necessary condition for proscription, whereas approval of violence is not. While neither the presence of effective alternatives nor veto player incentives relate to ban outcomes in a consistent pattern, veto player support remains crucial. Given the findings from this comparative study, we conclude that successor party bans should not belong to a separate category of militant democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Italy, Germany, militant democracy, party bans, neo-Nazism, neo-Fascism

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