Independent Authorities and Constitutional Degradation.

During the accession process of Central-Eastern European States to the EU, the Commission pushed for a depoliticisation of the national public sphere to be realised by conferring significant powers to experts and other non-elected agents. The rationale behind this move was to provide for other 'guardians' of democracy alongside the judiciary and constitutional courts. Electoral commissions, ombudsmen, anti-corruption agencies, and other monitoring institutions were thus introduced to consolidate and protect the achievements of democratic transition. Yet, such a proliferation of independent bodies produced as a consequence a marginalisation of politics, triggering a backlash effect which led to the emergence of populist politics. Against this backdrop, the paper will consider the performance of independent authorities in Central Eastern European States in the last two decades, in order to assess whether they contributed to preventing, rather than fostering, constitutional degradation.