Competing forms of populism and territorial politics: the cases of Vox and Podemos in Spain

Davide Vampa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Until 2018 right-wing populism was regarded as an irrelevant phenomenon in Spain. The recent success of Vox provides clear evidence that the transformation of Spanish politics is still under way. Today, both right-wing and left-wing populism–the latter represented by Podemos–coexist in an increasingly fragmented party system. This article shows that territorial mobilization has been an important factor in the emergence of these two competing forms of populism. In fact, their positioning on the so-called ‘centre-periphery cleavage’ at the moment of their initial success is their most notable element of differentiation. Right-wing populism in Spain is strongly anti-localist and anti-regionalist and this is clearly reflected in the territorial distribution of its support. On the other hand, left-wing populism had its electoral breakthrough particularly in those areas where demands for autonomy and even independence were stronger. This makes the Spanish case extremely interesting since most studies have not sufficiently considered the territorial dimension as a defining, and distinguishing, feature of right-wing and left-wing forms of populism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-321
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Studies
Issue number3
Early online date20 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of Contemporary European Studies on 20 Feb 2020, available online at:


  • Podemos
  • Populism
  • Spain
  • Vox
  • territorial politics


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