Bad neighbours? Roma diaspora and radical right electoral performance in Central Eastern Europe
By applying both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, our research explores the link between the share of Roma diasporas and radical right electoral performance in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). In other words, the present study investigates whether geographical proximity to Romani communities can influence far-right voting in post-socialist countries. Based on theoretical models developed by social psychologists, we assumed that the presence of Roma people will affect electoral behavior the same way as immigrant populations do in Western societies. Quite surprisingly, our analysis revealed a highly controversial pattern. While in the cross-national context, we found clear indications for a positive association, the individual level analysis has failed to prove that Romani communities would influence radical right voting in either way. By conducting nineteen semi-structured interviews with far-right supporters, we were expecting to clarify the theoretical link between minorities, prejudices and extreme right support across the post-communist region. In short, our study found that individual perception on the number of Roma might be a key factor to understand radical right electoral behavior in CEE countries.