The paper focuses on the role played by Parliamentary institution in the context of the ongoing health emergency.
The Covid-19 pandemic has disempowered the Parliament in favor of the position of the Government, speeding up a process that has been underway in constitutional and democratic systems for a long time.
In particular, the aim of this paper is to assess the legitimacy, as well as the opportunity, of remote voting and participation in order to evaluate how the implementation of a “virtual Parliament” in many European countries has ensured the functioning of parliamentary bodies and the exercise of MPs’ prerogatives during the current health emergency.
The final purpose is to understand if the experience gained in response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic might have an impact on the evolution of the role and functions of Parliament in the future.
In the world context of the pandemic faced in various ways by different countries, the territorial authorities in Italy have played a prominent role. However, many have been the measures of presidents of regions and mayors who have no justification in the territorial nature of the emergency, so as to suggest search for visibility. All this has created an unbalanced picture, linked to an unjustified overlap of state and local measures, which has caused confusion among citizens, who have been subject to decisions without having been involved and without having had the opportunity to express an opinion on the work of these bodies, given the postponement of the various elections planned.
The intention is therefore to carry out some reflections on the space of the power of local ordinance in the face of a national emergency and the involvement of citizens in the decisions taken under that power.
The pandemic saw a new wave of exceptionalist analysis of political power exercised in difficult times. However, not every state of emergency should be labeled as a state of exception à la C. Schmitt.
The paper addresses this idea at a methodological level, arguing that there is no theoretical obstacle for a Constitution, from a normativistic point of view, to preview all the required means to address an emergency. Conversely, it is more debated whether such a background may coexist with the strong functionalist demands derived from an impellent necessity, which may even result in an enhanced role for a technocratic power at the expense of Parliament.
Thus, it is arguable that to carefully balance the democratic quality of legislation and its celerity, it is required to support constitutional law with a proper theoretical framework able to clarify the correct relationship among instrumental and value-rationality in the democratic procedure when it comes to the law-making temporality.
The paper aims to verify the measures the Italian House of Representatives and the Senate applied to ensure the continuity of parliamentary work without threatening the health of their members during the current emergency.
The analysis will be carried out from a comparative perspective exploring the initiatives put in place by Parliaments of other main European countries involved by the pandemic, with particular regard to the cases of Spanish “Cortes” and European Parliament.
Being expression of two different approaches to the issue of remote participation and voting, these experiences allow to assess the measures implemented by the Italian Chambers and the legal and practical consequences that could rise by holding sessions and meetings remotely.
This in order to reflect on the most appropriate ways to guarantee the functioning of the Parliament in case of emergency and allow physically impeded MPs to perform their duties on a par with their other colleagues.
The paper argues that populism is a celebration of the metaphysics of sovereignty; it reaches this outcome by focusing on the populist form of representation as embodiment, a strategy that promises to overcome the gap that mandate representation creates between the elected and the people. The paper shows that populism emerges as diagnosis and lamentation of this risk, and proposes representation as embodiment as its solution, which turns to be worse than the disease.