Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Best in Covid: Populists in the Time of Pandemic

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Abstract:  How do populists govern in crisis? We address this question by analyzing the actions of technocratic populists in power during the first wave of the novel coronavirus crisis in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. We identify three features of the populist pandemic response. First, populists bypassed established, institutionalized channels of crisis response. Second, they engaged in erratic yet responsive policy making. These two features are ubiquitous to populism. The third feature, specific to technocratic populism, is the politicization of expertise in order to gain legitimacy. Technocratic populists in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia weaponized medical expertise for political purposes.

Keywords:  ANO; Covid-19; Czech Republic; health expertise; nationalism; OL’aNO; pandemic; populism; Slovakia; technocratic populism



© Lenka Buštíková, Pavol Baboš. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.