The meaning of political representation in liberal constitutionalism: a constitutional silence with an uncertain future?

“Representation” is a notoriously vague concept. Nonetheless, contemporary constitutions assume that the powers of the state will be exercised primarily in a representative fashion. In doing so, constitutions do not spell out the meaning of “representative”, a quintessential democratic question, but rely on proxies, e.g. elections, legislatures, fundamental rights and separation of powers, to shape the meaning of “representative”. I argue that liberal constitutionalism relies upon a particular shape of constitutional silence when it comes to representation. I then examine the challenges placed before this understanding of constitutional silence, paying particular regard to the case of Croatia as a relative newcomer to the precepts of liberal constitutionalism, simultaneously faced by populist tendencies. Finally, I ask what do the challenges to the silences of representation mean for the future of liberal constitutionalism.