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The Economist (2023-09-14):

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Support for nationalist or far-right parties:

  • Lithuania <1%

  • Poland >40%

  • Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia (and many other countries): 20-30%

The above map suggests support for the far right is unusually low in Lithuania (compared to its neighbors). Is this correct? And if so, why?


Another source (Ulinskaitė and Garškaitė-Antonowicz, 2023, PDF):

since 2000, Far Right populist parties have not yet managed to cross the 5% threshold needed to enter the parliament.

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    Does the article offer a definition of "nationalist or far-right parties"?
    – xyldke
    Sep 20, 2023 at 9:36
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    I'd also be intrigued by the conclusion that Ireland has no nationalist parties (of importance). It's probably down to specific definitions. Sep 20, 2023 at 14:28
  • Regarding the latter one can more easily find explainers... tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01402380802234631 Sep 20, 2023 at 14:41
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    The definitions are obviously questionable. Ireland has considerable support for Sinn Fein, which is a "nationalist" party by any reckoning, although not far-right.
    – Steve
    Sep 20, 2023 at 14:51

2 Answers 2

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One explanation I've seen (which may not be entirely satisfactory or comprehensive) is that Lithuania is more ethnically homogenous, e.g. has a lower percentage of Russians for instance. Thus the appeal of the "internal enemy" card [a typical argument of some far-right parties] is lower in Lithuania compared to neighboring Baltic states.

Another reason, apparently, is that the [Lithuanian] (modern day) LTS was both anti-Russian and anti-EU, but a xenophobic/autarchic position may be a hard sell in a small country like Lithuania (although sure, there's Switzerland). The LTS for instance wanted “to seek to recognise the Treaty of Lisbon as illegal and void.” (p. 41) In contrast, the LNNK in Latvia is anti-Russian, anti-immigration but not quite as anti-EU.

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  • Do you infer that LNNK is considered far-right but LTS isn't ? And that it would be so because LTS concentrates more on anti-UE positions and less on xenophobia ?
    – Evargalo
    Sep 21, 2023 at 6:43
  • @Evargalo: I'd wager The Economist considers them both so. But my point is that LNNK was more moderate EU-wise, so it got more votes, at least in recent times. The Economist's claim is about support for parties, not ideas in the abstract. Sep 22, 2023 at 15:11
  • There's also the issue that LNNK managed to forge an alliance (that is still holding) with another more moderate party , while LTS's attempt at the same eventually imploded. Sep 22, 2023 at 15:17
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The information in this source is wrong.

The answer may be that political parties in some countries are playing with the definition of "left and right" that does not have very obvious meaning. They aim to attract more of the electorate by saying they are somewhat left, somewhat right, or simply do not represent any social group at all (represent "all"). A "lowest common denominator " trick. When uncritically classifying them without checking they past actions and not declarations, it may be possible to assign them to the wrong category.

Lithuanian Conservative party alone (definitely on the "right") is most often reported to have about 12 % popularity (scroll this source down till you see the blue table). And they are not the only party in Lithuania that could be seen belonging to the "right". Liberals that definitely would say a good word about "western values" hold another 7 %.

Lithuanian Conservative party values traditional values of Capitalism (they led the privatization), they also highly value independence and national identity of Lithuania, take care to protect the language. Support Taiwan. They stayed in the parliament building during 1991 events when Russians arrived with tanks in the attempt to overturn. The party changed names and formed alliances over time, currently seems being called the Homeland Union. If you do not see them as a "far right" enough, the answer would probably be, Lithuanians do not see any necessity for something more extreme. Regardless how they officially declare they position, all that about any still legal "far right" party still in the sane mind would offer, they do.

Conservative party has been popular from the regaining independence in Lithuania, and the governing party shortly after. They lost some of they popularity later but managed to fight it back in the following years and were never really unpopular.

It should not be any really major differences between Lithuania and the neighboring Latvia with very similar historical fate.

I also see that Iceland is similarly white. Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn, a liberal-conservative party, is currently the largest party in the parliament, so I really do not get what do they want to say by this.

Of course, Nazism is sometimes considered the "far right". But in this case the rest of the chart would be a nonsense because such Nazi parties are officially forbidden in EU.

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    Is the Lithuanian Conservative party considered to be "nationalist or far-right", though? You don't have to be a full-blown Nazi to fall into that category.
    – F1Krazy
    Sep 20, 2023 at 7:42
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    But are the Conservatives and Liberals (I think these refer to Homeland Union and Liberals' Movement) "far-right" (or "nationalist")? Wikipedia lists both of them as center-right.
    – user103496
    Sep 20, 2023 at 7:42
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    It far is more likely that the white color means "no data" here. No, white means <1%, grey means no data. See the legend in the map.
    – user103496
    Sep 20, 2023 at 7:54
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    I mean that map is made by "The Economist" who'd probably group themselves in the classical liberal/conservative spectrum, so I guess far right means to the right of them, so idk xenophobic populism and stuff like that. What might lead to misleading categorizations is when there is no dedicated party so idk Front National, AFD and Fratelli d’Italia etc are far right/nationalist/protofascist aso but there might be currents in conservative parties as well though to quantify them is more difficult.
    – haxor789
    Sep 20, 2023 at 8:55

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