Roundtable on: Populist politics, its effects on social cohesion and the future of liberal democracy

Das Progressive Zentrum will host a roundtable with two internationally renowned scholars, Peter Hall and Cas Mudde. To discuss populist politics, its effects on social cohesion and the future of liberal democracy, they will be joined by two experts on democracy Marieluise Beck and Hedwig Richter. The event is chaired Constanze Stelzenmüller and will be streamed live on our Facebook page.

In recent years, Europe’s political landscape has undergone drastic shifts, as newly emerging populist parties have achieved remarkable parliamentary successes. Britain’s decision to leave the EU, Austria’s Freedom Party entering into government and Viktor Orbán‘s third victory in a row are indications that populism is here to stay.

This situation poses questions: How are economic and/or cultural developments key causal factors which increase support for populism especially on the right side of the political spectrum? What are implications of the populist phenomenon for our liberal democratic system? Is it a long-term threat that undermines our institutions or can it be pushed back by improving the problem-solving-capacity of Western democracies?

With questions like these in mind, Das Progressive Zentrum in cooperation with Zentrum Liberale Moderne initiated the “Challenging Democracy” series. We organise exclusive quarterly roundtables with a selected group of participants to discuss the challenges to liberal democracies, as well as concrete political responses.

This time we are partnering with Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e.V. and are delighted to welcome two internationally renowned experts: Peter Hall, Professor of European Studies at Harvard University, and Cas Mudde, Professor at the Stanley Wade Shelton University of Georgia. Both thinkers have offered different explanations of the populist surge, which is the perfect ground for a promising discussion.

The first response to the two inputs will be provided by Hedwig Richter, historian at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research and University of Heidelberg and contributing opinion writer for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Süddeutsche Zeitung. A closing remark will be held by Marieluise Beck, who is Director for Central and Eastern Europe at Zentrum Liberale Moderne and served as Member of the German Bundestag for the Green Party until 2017.

The roundtable is chaired by Constanze Stelzenmüller, innaugural Robert Bosch senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the US think tank Brookings and frequent political commentator on American and European radio, television and newspapers.

This roundtable will be streamed with “Facebook Live” at noon on our Facebook page so that the debate can be followed online.

In case of interest or any questions please contact Paulina Fröhlich at

Paulina Fröhlich

Txai de Almeida

published on

18 May 2018