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.
In this policy brief, constitutional law and human rights expert Gábor Tóth examines the changing face of authoritarianism, warning that this could become known as the century of authoritarianism as a result of the institutional erosion of democracies around the world.
In this policy brief, human rights and criminal lawyer Mikołaj Pietrzak argues that Poland's ruling party is implementing a programme of deep constitutional, social, and political change, including limitations on the role of the judiciary, which poses a threat to the constitutionally enshrined separation of powers in the fledgling democracy.
In this Policy Brief, Professor of French Government and Politics David S Bell analyses the French presidential election and the constitution of the French Fifth Republic. He charts the extraordinary fall from grace of Republican presidential candidate Francois Fillon, following the scandal known as 'Penelopegate', in which he allegedly paid his wife hundreds of thousands of euros of public money for little or no work.