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On the 'Two Faces' of right-wing extremism in Belgium : Confronting the ideology of extreme right-wing parties in Belgium with the attitudes and motives of their voters

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In this article, we analyse the ideological differences between extreme rightwing parties and their voters in the Flemish and Walloon part of Belgium. Extreme right-wing ideology consists of five core elements:  (biological) racism, extreme ethnic nationalism, the leadership principle, anti-parliamentarianism and an anti-leftist attitude. All these attitudes refer to the basic value of rightwing extremism: the belief in the inequality of individuals and ( ethnic) groups.  An analysis of the ideology of the Vlaams Blok in Flanders shows that it adheres to these core elements of extreme right-wing ideology. An analysis of the attitudes and motives of the voters of this party, however, shows that they cannot be considered as right-wing extremists. The ideological gap between the Vlaams Blok and its electorate is due to the strategy of this party, since it cultivates 'two faces': a populist, moderate face in order to attract votes, and a radical extreme rightwingface in order to recruit and motivate militants. In Wallonia, less is known about the ideology of right-wing parties and that of their voters. Current research however, suggests that the conclusions from Flemish research may very well be generalized to Wallonia as well.

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How to Cite: De Witte, H. (1996) “On the 'Two Faces' of right-wing extremism in Belgium : Confronting the ideology of extreme right-wing parties in Belgium with the attitudes and motives of their voters”, Res Publica. 38(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/rp.v38i2.18642