Conferenza / Incontro

Populists in local government: the case of RN mayors in France

Guest Lecture Series
5 aprile 2022
Orario di inizio 
Palazzo Paolo Prodi - Via Tommaso Gar 14, Trento
Room 001
Organizzato da: 
School of International Studies
Ingresso libero


When populist radical right parties gain local government power, do they attempt to implement their ideology or are they forced to moderate their approach? This lecture will present the results of a project entitled ‘The Rassemblement National (RN) in power in French local government’ funded by a grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The aim was to assess the RN administration of two towns in France since they gained power in 2014 - Hénin-Beaumont in the north, and Fréjus in the south. Fieldwork was carried out in these two towns, including interviews with RN and opposition politicians alongside an analysis of the policy outputs and discourse of both administrations.

The results indicate that in both towns the party and its mayor have attempted to ‘mainstream’ and use local government power to present a more moderate and capable image. There is a common emphasis from the mayors on a governing style characterised by pragmatism. However, the administrations still use a populist discourse to frame opposition political forces and the local press as working against the interests of ‘the people’. They are also able to use the power of local government to subtly signal ‘national preference’ and hostility to out-groups.


  • Timothy Peace - University of Glasgow


Dr Timothy Peace is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Glasgow. His research
interests include social movements, religion and politics and populist parties in Europe. He is the author of "European Social Movements and Muslim Activism: Another World but with Whom?" (Palgrave 2015)