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Representative Democracy in Danger? The Impact of 'Populist Governments' on National Parliaments’ Powers

Democracy
Government
Parliaments
Political Parties
Populism
Identity
Comparative Perspective
Member States
P328
Aleksandra Maatsch
University of Wrocław
Carlos Closa Montero
Universidad Autònoma de Madrid – Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos del CSIC

Friday 09:00 - 10:40 (06/09/2019)

Building: Institute of Geography Floor: 3rd floor Room: 336

Abstract

Over the last few years the political landscape of the EU member states has undergone significant changes. In particular, populist parties did not only become stronger as opposition actors, but they also have succeeded to form governments (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Poland), though usually within a framework of a coalition. The aim of this panel is therefore to shed more light on the new phenomenon of “governing populists”. More specifically, we are interested in analysing how the presence of populist parties in the government affects the functioning of representative democracy in the states under study. The phenomenon of “governing populists” is still new and under-researched. There are no comparative studies to analyse in a systematic way how the presence of populist parties in the government affects the functioning – and the quality – of representative institutions in the Eastern and Western European states. Our specific research questions are: how does the presence of populist parties in the government affect the legislative, scrutiny, representative, and communicative function of national parliaments? How can we explain the degree of populist executives’ impact on the legislative? Are parliaments in Eastern and Western European states equally or differently affected by populist executives? The phenomenon of “governing populists” does not only generate empirical, but also normative questions. More specifically, the two constitutive features of populism, anti-elitism and anti-pluralism, pose a direct “existential” threat to representative democracy. In particular, populist parties ignore the complexity of modern societies by presenting the people as a very homogenous group. By the same token, populist parties challenge the necessity to represent various socio-economic cleavages by different parties. Beyond that, populists undermine the liberal constitutional order: they believe that as a party representing the people they are entitled to change the existing constitutional order in line with their interests and preferences.

Title Details
The Impact of 'Populist Governments' on National Parliaments’ Powers: The Analytical Framework View Paper Details
Populism and the Parliament-Government Relationships in Italy View Paper Details
From 'Bubbler House' to Rubber-Stamping Body? The Influence of Populist Parties in the Government on the Functioning of the Czech Chamber of Deputies View Paper Details
Social Dialogue at the Central Level in States Governed by Populist Political Parties: The Cases of Poland and Hungary View Paper Details
Governing in the Name of the People: The Impact of Populist Executives on Legislatures and Legislative Procedures in Italy and Hungary View Paper Details