Svein-Erik Bøthun Helle

Coordinator, Governance and Democracy, Post-Doctoral Researcher

Svein-Erik Helle (CMI/UiB) in conversation with Jonas Linde (UiB) and Leiv Marsteintredet (UiB)

Right-wing populist parties and candidates are at the forefront of two of the most important elections this autumn. In Sweden, the most fiercely debated question before the election was how well the Sweden Democrats would do – and after the election the hottest question is how the other parties will deal with the Sweden Democrats. Meanwhile, in Brazil, the polls show that right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro, who was stabbed while campaigning in early September, is leading comfortably.

The rise of right-wing populist parties and candidates is getting a lot of attention in the media and in public debates. This attention typically focuses on their views on minority groups and politics or their current or historic links to violent and non-democratic movements. Less attention is given to the common link between these two issues: right-wing populists’ parties and candidates’ love/hate relationship with different aspects of democracy and democratic institutions.

In this Breakfast for Democracy (#bffDemocracy), we will discuss how right-wing populist parties, candidates and their voters view democracy, and how these actors in turn are challenging various democratic institutions with a particular focus on the recently concluded election in Sweden and the upcoming election in Brazil. How do right-wing populist voters and politicians view majority rule and minority rights? What of accountability institutions such as a free press and independent courts? How important is it to understand the origins of these parties and candidates in order to understand how they view democracy? And are they currently changing accountability institutions through elections even in places where they are not winning?

Free and open to all - coffee and croissants will be served!

Breakfasts for Democracy (#bffDemocracy) Democratic institutions and human rights are increasingly under pressure in both the developed and the developing world. In this breakfast seminar series, we will discuss current events in light of our current knowledge of the politics of processes of democratisation and autocratisation. Through conversations with scholars engaged in ongoing research on the topic, the seminar series will provide new and research-based insights on current events in the ongoing struggle for democracy and human rights.

This series is organised through the joint CMI/UiB research project 'Breaking BAD: Understanding the Backlash Against Democracy in Africa’, in collaboration with Bergen Resource Centre and Centre for Law and Social Transformation. Breakfast hosts are Svein-Erik Helle and Lisa-Marie Selvik.

Photo: Randy Colas