“Abusive Constitutionalism” and Loyal Opposition

Nowadays, several States face the increasing phenomenon of ‘abusive constitutionalism’, that is, quoting David Landau, ‘the use of the mechanisms of constitutional change—constitutional amendment and constitutional replacement—to undermine democracy’.

Whether minority parties in legislative bodies are able to use democracy-protecting mechanisms again this threat has recently become a central question, including in some EU Member States. Therefore, the paper aims to reflect on the possibility that a constructive and responsible opposition may be able to make democratic constitutionalism resistant to erosion from within. In order to analyse this possibility, the paper presents solutions offered by the Italian Constitution (and recent Italian political events and history) which may prove effective against the threat of abusive constitutionalism.