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How Serious Is Europe’s Anti-Democratic Threat?

With right-wing populist parties expected to make sizable gains in European elections this year, many commentators have been sounding the alarm about threats to democracy across the region. But whether these fears are warranted is a complicated and highly contingent question.

NEW YORK – With 65 countries holding elections and more voters than ever going to the polls, 2024 has been called the “year of democracy.” Yet optimism about democracy is hard to find. Some democracies that emerged during the late twentieth century slid back toward autocracy, and many commentators worry about the future of democracy in places where it has long been taken for granted. In particular, surging support for right-wing populism in Western Europe has raised fears across the continent.