Constitutional Imaginaries, Populism and European Democracy

This paper outlines a sociological perspective of constitutional imaginaries to comprehend the political appeal of authenticity claims and arguments in politics. It focuses on the imaginary of the public sphere and its constitution of the specific distinction between public opinion – the doxa and expert knowledge – the episteme and its impact on the imaginary of authenticity in constitutional democratic politics. Furthermore, it explores the imaginary of authenticity and its constitution of explosive communities in the context of Europeanisation and globalisation. Finally, it analyses the EU’s responses to the imaginaries of constitutional populism, especially European public spheres and demoi. It concludes by stating that transnational European constitutional imaginaries integrate elements of constitutional populism while preserving the European integration’s initial critique of the imaginary of nations living authentically and exclusively in their states.

Infra-Constitutional Executive Aggrandizement and Democratic Backsliding

A substantial body of work identifies the use of democratic processes and rhetoric to advance undemocratic agendas as the primary threat to contemporary democracy. Captured by terms such as Democratic Backsliding, Autocratic Legalism, Abusive Constitutionalism, and Executive Aggrandizement, the investigation of this phenomenon tends to focus on how formal, usually constitutional, changes to political structures have been used to concentrate power. But, recent work also points to the use of less obvious, incremental methods to accomplish similar goals either as a complement to constitutional changes or to prepare the field for more sweeping formal changes such as constitutional revision. We contribute to this work by (i) presenting a typology of sub-constitutional legal strategies used to concentrate power in the hands of the executive and (ii) exploring two understudied, “covert” methods of executive aggrandizement—the (ab)use of regulatory powers and interpretive authority.

Opposition Political Parties and Democratic Revival

Constitutional law’s rules and institutions have barely on their own been able to prevent democracies from backsliding. The question that then arises is how democracies can be saved from backsliding. This paper introduces opposition political parties as a tool for democratic revival. In modern authoritarian regimes, where some democratic openings are frequently prevalent, opposition political parties can make efficient use of their institutional leverages to push for democratic revival. In fact, when opposition political parties strategically confront authoritarian regimes, previously ineffective constitutional rules and institutions take a life of their own and show themselves to be effective as they are now provided with the political environment to operate freely. The ultimate aim of this paper is to force us to move away from traditional solutions espoused by legal scholars relating to constitutional law’s rules and institutions towards solutions in the political arena.

The fading of representative democracy and the rise of pragmatic democracy Some reflection on Albanian political reality

Albania went through several crisis in the last years The first one was caused by a deep legal reform on judicial power as a necessity to fight the corruption. The opposition boycotted the parliament and elections. Two impeachment procedures by the parliament against the President of Republic failed, no reflection about the responsibility of majority behavior was made. A heavy earthquake followed by the pandemic worsened the social life. Nevertheless the majority won the elections for the third time in a row. Several questions raise: why a political party after 8 years of accusation of power abuse is still being seen as a better choice to govern? Does the representative democracy still work? Do people have to believe in opposition if it does not undertake its genuine role seriously? Are there any other effective mechanism to control the powerholders? is the representative role of the parliament fading or being replaced by a pragmatic approach towards parliamentarism?