Change and Stability. How the Party Leaderships of the Danish Progress Party and Danish People’s Party are Organized

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to show the role played by the party leadership in the Progress Party and the Danish People’s Party in the formation and consolidation of party organization, policy and strategy. The added knowledge provided by this article is an elaboration on one of the successful so-called radical right political parties of this century, namely the Danish People’s Party, and its predecessor, the Progress Party, for the non-Danish speaking audience. Based on a plethora of data sources (interviews, documents, surveys and secondary material), the analysis shows that the differences in how the Progress Party and the Danish People’s Party are organized are much larger than any organizational modifications after the party leader change from Kjærsgaard to Thulesen Dahl. While Kjærsgaard was not able to implement marked organizational changes within the Progress Party, she did stand for a different strategy and policy than Glistrup, focusing on parliamentary influence, and a right-wing position on the new politics dimension, but more pro welfare on the redistributive dimension. There were no substantial changes in organization, strategy or policy when Thulesen Dahl took over the leadership of the Danish People’s Party; however, the strategy prior to the 2019 election did change. In sum, the overall expectation that party organisational change was larger when Kjærsgaard took over from Glistrup in the Progress Party, and in particular when establishing the new Danish People’s Party, than when Thulesen Dahl took over from Kjærsgaard, is mainly supported.

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