HEPPsplaining: the EP Elections 2024 and populism in Argentina and Slovakia

HEPPsinki offers its expertise to press and research contacts in two low-threshold breakfast events: #2 the EP elections on 4 June. Join us on site at the University of Helsinki or online via stream!
European Parliamentary Elections research 2024

Tuesday 4 June 9:00-10:30


On-site location: Think Corner Fönsteri, Yliopistonkatu 4, Helsinki

Coffee 9:00-9:15 

Talks and discussion: 9:15-10:00 

Open discussion: 10:00-10:30 - also streamed online.


In the Fönsteri of Think Corner HEPP research group introduces the current research conducted in European Commission funded research groups and in the Finnish Research Council co-funded consortium in the European Parliament Elections in 2024. This is an effort that covers intensively ten countries around Europe: France, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Finland and Sweden. These preliminary insights are compared to the research on the 2019 European elections published in Juha Herkman and Emilia Palonen's edited volume Populism, Twitter and the European Public Sphere: Social Media Communication in the EP elections 2019 that came out in April 2024.

Speakers: Emilia Palonen and researchers from the Helsinki Hub on Emotions, Populism and Polarisation studying and collecting data from the ten European countries.

The projects ENDURE (Research Council of Finland for Trans-Atlantic Partnerships), PLEDGE and CO3 are collaborating in this task. As it is co-funded by the European Union: Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or [name of the granting authority]. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

Beyond labels: Discussing the New Right and Left Populism from Argentina to Central Europe

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Conceptual confusion over Right and Left Populism and real-life events in Latin America and Europe have prompted us to organise this talk for the media and the academic community. 


The electoral defeat of the Peronists in Argentina led to a new type of right-wing rule under Javier Milei, intensifying polarisation in the country. Our guest speaker from Argentina is well familiar with both Left Populism and the New Right and their populist style. Left populism in Argentina is based on Peronism, which became a way to extend political and social rights to the people across the large country. Later under the Kirchner governments, it became a tool to contest neoliberal politics, which have now returned with a wave of attention on migration. 


The assassination attempt on Slovak prime minister Robert Fico brought the concept of left populism in Europe into sharp focus. Fico entered politics in the 1990s on the economic left, the tradition upon which he founded his party Direction - Social Democracy (Smer). Rather than a socially progressive left-wing populist party, Smer was always nationalistic and increasingly authoritarian leaning, building on the political project begun by Vladimír Mečiar, the first prime minister of independent Slovakia. In 2023, Fico turned sharply to the right, mobilising voters with a staunchly socially conservative and pro-Russian platform. Smer’s left-leaning economic core remains, but targeted redistributionist policies have been also part of the right-wing parties’ agendas in Poland and Hungary.


This talk will open up the concept of Left Populism and its relationship to the New Right by calling on both regional and global expertise. In addition to discussing Fico, his relationship to Left Populism, and his turn to the right, it will also introduce the political situation in Argentina as a counterpoint. It will provide substance to the ongoing discussion about Left Populism not only in Slovakia, but also in European politics more broadly. Journalists and researchers are all warmly invited to join us at this free event.   


Tuesday 28 May 9-10.30

On-site location: Faculty Hall 1066, Unioninkatu 37, University of Helsinki center campus

Coffee 9.00-9.15 

Talks and discussion: 9.15-10. 

Open discussion: 10-10.30 - also streamed online.

The researchers will be available for 10.30-11 or by appointment for comments and interviews.

  • International guest Maria Esperanza Casullo, a renowned expert on populism, the New Right, and Left Populism, will introduce the current situation in Argentina.
  • Doctoral researcher Ilana Hartikainen, an expert on Czech and Slovak politics, will introduce the concepts in the context of Fico.
  • Programme director and research group leader Emilia Palonen, an expert on populism theory and European politics and polarisation in Hungary, will discuss the terminology debate in the European context. 

Organiser: the Helsinki Hub on Emotions, Populism and Polarisation; Now Time Us Space project funded by the Kone Foundation. Emilia Palonen

Further details: Emilia Palonen, emilia.palonen@helsinki.fi, 050-4482878, hepp@helsinki.fi