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The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society (FLJS) is an independent not-for-profit institution that aims to promote an understanding of the role of law in society. We identify and analyse issues of contemporary interest and importance, disseminating the insights of decision-makers and experts to a global audience through our extensive online resource of free-to-download Policy Briefings, Opinion Pieces, and multimedia podcasts.
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The Italian Constitutional Conundrum and the Rise of Populism
One of the driving principles behind the contemporary populist vision of democracy is to no longer respect legal boundaries and constitutional constraints to the so-called ‘will of the people’.
Through analysis of the contemporary Italian political situation, this policy brief addresses a number of critical constitutional strains caused by populism, including:
- conflicts between the needs of the people in the electoral spectrum and deficit spending within the Euro system;
- the refugee crisis and the reshaping of the constitutional protection of fundamental rights;
- criticism of the independence of the judiciary;
- state democratic institutions and their capacity to rule within the EU system of government; and
- the call for EU constitutional changes, in order to open a new democratic legitimizing process of the European institutions.
The policy brief concludes with a series of proposals for Italian constitutional changes called by the Italian parliament in order to integrate the people more closely into the political and institutional system:
- reducing the number of MPs;
- reforming the referendum procedures;
- implementing the role of the people in the legislative procedure by strengthening its capacity to promote legislative initiatives; and
- granting these proposals a stronger position within parliamentary procedures.