Reflections on a decade of the European Citizens’ Initiative

Agenda initiatives are democratic instruments allowing individuals to request legislative action following a signature gathering exercise. They first emerged in several European Constitutions in the interwar period and spread rapidly from the late 1980s in mainly European & Latin American countries. A transnational variant was established at EU level (ECI) by the Lisbon Treaty. Bold and often hyperbolic claims about the contribution it could make to EU democracy were commonplace from when it was first proposed. The ECI will have been in operation for a decade in April 2022, offering a timely opportunity to assess practice pertaining to this unique agenda initiative. This paper argues that although much criticised, notably by legal scholars, the ECI has made a valuable contribution to the EU’s democratic landscape by offering citizens a bottom-up mechanism for engaging with the EU, and with each other, and the value of which goes beyond its potential to achieve legislative outputs.

The Rule of Law: Legal Philosophy and Political Theory

This paper based on the concept the Rule of law in the context of current political environment. We use theoretical analysis including legal philosophy and political theory in general and empirical analysis of the Russian legal and political system. First, we should analyse the Rule of Law as an analytical concept, and a concept with particular contain. Secondly, we’ll focus on controversy between positivistic and moral perceptions of law. This controversy lays on another contradiction between understanding positivism and natural law theory as democratic or conservative approaches. Thirdly, we will pay attention to the Rule of Law and theory of Plebiscitary Democracy. According to sociologist and philosopher Greg Yudin – Russia is an example of Plebiscitary Democracy that combines rational-legal authority (via elections) and monarchical one. In this part of paper, we will analyse recently published book “The Rule of Law Under Fire?” by R. Wacks.

The constitutional role in asymmetric new democracies.

The constitutions, in new democracies, especially in complex and asymmetric societies, sometimes, work from top-down, to keep some groups interests, with a lack of normative expectations. Therefore, when constitutions face problems of non-achievement in social reality, the charter could denote merely a non-normative conception, without any social identification. The lack of trust in the constitution, may lead to a structural reform from non-integrated groups that, otherwise, could drive to a backlash from the political structures, even through an authoritarian regime. Thus, the constitution, does not should come just from formal procedural decisions, but rather, should be the outcome of a rational discourse, compatible with a pluralist society. Consequently, the goal of this paper is to support that the constitution must be connected with the community, to increases permanently the legitimacy and respect of the charter, in a continuous process of recognition and pluralism.

Deliberative democracy in crisis: Lessons from India

The process of deliberative democracy is structured in two ways, namely, in law-making (through dissent and deliberation) and judicial decisions (as a counter to majoritarian decision making). Our paper posits that this notion of democracy is under challenge in India from both the majoritarian government and an independent judiciary. This is discerned through our analysis of two incidents. The first incident relates to the enactment and subsequent repeal of three farm laws by the Indian government in 2021 in violation of legal and political constitutionalism. While the second one concerns the recent decision of the Supreme Court in NIA v. Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali that it is not permissible for courts to question prosecution cases while deciding bail in anti-terror cases, which in turn has resulted in high incarceration rates. We argue that these incidents are causing a crisis of deliberative democratic norms in India and propitiating hegemonic discourses of majoritarianism in India.

Parliaments facing security emergencies: more public fora than decision-makers

Parliamentary scrutiny of security policies is probably the last frontier of representative democracy. Over the last decades, much progress has been made in Western countries in order to limit executive dominance in the security domain, reinforcing political safeguards based on the involvement of Parliament. However, in emergency frameworks, when major threats are at stake, parliaments’ ability to influence the balance between security and other constitutional values meets serious constraints. This is particularly true in parliamentary systems. The analysis of how Parliaments in Europe have scrutinised crucial decisions affecting State security in the ‘war on terror’ following the 9/11 attacks and in the 2022 Ukraine armed conflict demonstrates that under such circumstances legislatures tend to act more as public fora than as proper decision-makers as their legislative and oversight functions are constrained by external pressures and information asymmetries.