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Photo: “AfD Wahlkampfauftakt“, by licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Hue modified from the original.

Ostermann, Falk, and Bernhard Stahl. “Theorizing Populist Radical-Right Foreign Policy: Ideology and Party Positioning in France and Germany.” Foreign Policy Analysis 18, no. 3 (2022): orac006.


The success of anti-establishment parties across Europe has fueled debate on the role of populism for foreign policy and its contemporary contestation. The almost-election of Marine Le Pen to the French presidency in 2017, the successes of the Alternative für Deutschland(AfD) in Germany’s 2017 and 2021 federal elections, and the central role these populist radical-right (PRR) parties henceforth play in structuring political debate make their wider foreign policy positions an issue of central concern. Yet, we still lack a thorough understanding of how populism and radical-right ideology jointly produce a distinct foreign policy positioning beyond European integration. This article tries to narrow this gap by conceptualizing PRR positioning on trade, climate change, development policies, hegemony, and security and defense issues. The comparative analysis of official documents and voting behavior reveals only subtle differences between the Rassemblement national and the AfD, while demonstrating broad commonalities that have the potential to inform research across other cases and world regions on PRR parties’ foreign policy positioning.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.