Political Parties in Turbulent Times: What Role for Constitutional Courts?

The rise of authoritarian populist governments has posed a threat to the long held assumption that democracy has become the only game in town. In an article for the Journal of Democracy, Foa & Mounk, have described that support for democracy has been falling and political scientists have sounded alarms on the how democracies might die. In a more cautious tone, Pippa Norris and Ian Shapiro, in their most recent books, have acknowledged that while the threat cannot be dismissed, it is not yet possible to discard the thesis of democratic consolidation. Tradition parties, they argued, can respond to the populist challenge by adapting their own programmes, while retaining respect for core constitutional principles. Party competition, however, has rarely been the subject of analysis in constitutional law. Following Nicholas Barber’s thesis on the constitutional role of political parties, this paper aims to identify how constitutional courts can foster party competition.