Populists give political voice to the weak, but they do not offer an equal voice to all, writes Professor Dimitris Sotiropoulos, Senior Researcher of ELIAMEP. The debate over populism revolves around its definition and the causes of its rise, while it rarely focuses on how the demand for populist governments and policies will be bent in the future, Dimitris Sotiropoulos said.
Even those who like populism because it contributes to increased political participation and to the expression of interests by outlawed or weak groups, perceive that it can become a threat to democracy, the professor explains. Populists are convinced that they genuinely represent the people, undermining the independence of the judiciary and the media from the executive and equating their rivals with outside enemies, Mr. Sotiropoulos said. In addition, if populism is right-winged, it limits the protection of minorities and refugees and immigrants. If it is leftish, it pressures heavily on private businesses as well as middle and high-incomes, says Dimitris Sotiropoulos. It also adopts measures not generally in favor of the working classes, but especially in favor of some of them, for example, those represented by selected unions.
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