The Weakness of Populism in Spain

  • Astrid Barrio Universitat de València
Paraules clau: populism, Far Right, Radical Right, Podemos, Ciudadanos, Vox.


This paper analyses why Populism has failed to take root in Spain despite a ‘soil’ that has favoured its seeding and growth elsewhere. At first sight, Spain seems to provide the conditions in which Populism can thrive: a deep economic crisis (which began with the financial meltdown in 2008) and a succession of corruption scandals affecting all the main political parties. Even so, Populism has failed to gain a hold in Spain. The traditional Far Right is very weak, and new parties such as Podemos and Ciudadanos cannot be considered Populist. While Vox displays all the features of a radical right-wing party, it is one from which Populism is absent. We argue that the lack of Populism in Spain can mainly be explained by the highly fractured nature of the country’s politics, with left-right and national fault lines shaping how political competition plays out in the nation.



Autor Biografia

Astrid Barrio, Universitat de València

Astrid Barrio is Professor of Politics at Universitat de València (UV). She was awarded a PhD in Politics by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAE) and a DEA (Diplôme d'Études Approfondies — a first-year PhD diploma) by Institut d’Études Politiques de París (Sciences-Po). Her field of research covers parties, political elites, party systems, and nationalism. Astrid Barrio is the author of many books and has published papers in scholarly journals such as Ethnic and Racial Studies, Revista Española de Ciencia Política, Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas, Comparative European Politics,
South European Society and Politics, and Mediterranean Politics, among others. She regularly writes in newspapers such as El Periódico and La Vanguardia and is a frequent analyst on TV3, Catalunya Ràdio, La Ser, RAC1, and RTVE. She is the founder of Agenda Política and the magazine Política & Prosa. Her entire academic output can be consulted at:


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Com citar
Barrio, A. (2020) “The Weakness of Populism in Spain”, Debats. Revista de cultura, poder i societat, 50, pp. 197-209. doi: 10.28939/iam.debats-en.2020-11.