Constitutional paternalism, crisis of parliaments and “techno-populism”

The crisis of parliaments is a common development in many constitutional states. Origins and causes vary in each local context, as well as reactions to the crisis. While the judicial response to these crises is often constitutional paternalism, the political reaction commonly led to the emergence of anti-system and/or populist parties. Particularly in Europe, populist parties succeeded to take over parliamentary majorities in many cases after years of technocratic governments. This paper will explore a theoretical contradiction emerging from these developments. On the one hand, populist parliamentary majorities attack the basic pillars of the separation of powers, by undermining the legitimacy of counter-majoritarian “technocratic” institutions, such as constitutional courts and independent authorities. On the other hands, neo-populist parties usually reject traditional political cleavages and eventually use technical expertise as a legitimizing source of their policy.