Constitutional reform and the rule of law. Challenging democracy in times of crisis. A comparative study of the Greek and the Italian cases.

The paper considers the attempts recently made both in Greece and in Italy to amend the Fundamental Charters and their relation with the wider context given by the economic crisis and the emerging challenges to the rule of law. The comparative approach allows to detect similarities between the two cases and to envisage possible solutions to restore the rule of law and protect democracy from the quick gains of populist politics. The paper describes how in both legal systems the state of the rule of law is fairly weak, seriously affecting the quality of democracy, notwithstanding a long and well-established constitutional tradition. Italy and Greece experience the threat to which western democracies are currently exposed to that of becoming essentially illiberal, because of “ill-conceived” reforms leading towards an unbalanced distribution of power and progressively increasing the flaws in the compliance to the rule of law. A challenge responsible political actors should relish.