THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE UNDER STRESS IN BRAZIL: Reshuffling the State through executive decrees and provisional measures (2019-2021)

There is wide criticism for the Brazilian Government of Bolsonaro controversial stance and inaction during the pandemic crisis. In this article, we take a more comprehensive view of this Administration’s goals concerning the role of administrative law. We explore the theoretical roots and practical consequences of implementing a deregulation policy through unilateral Executive action. In order to do so, we empirically assess all the provisional measures and executive decrees edited during this Presidency. We aim to critically examine this disruptive approach in three policy areas (environmental, gun control, and business deregulation). In addressing the plausibility of a comprehensive reshuffling of the Administrative State by a minority government through legislative mechanisms that are part of the Executive toolbox provided by the Constitution, we put the Brazilian case in perspective and provide insights for the comparative agenda on the erosion of liberal democracies.

A national security act, a constitution and an unburied past in Brazil

Political parties have argued at Brazil’s Supreme Court whether the 1983 military-rule National Security Act opposes the democratic 1988 Constitution. They now question the General Attorney’s and Rio de Janeiro police’s authority, based on that act, to investigate public manifestations against President Bolsonaro, and the Supreme Court’s decision to detain a congressman who called people to raise against that Court, on YouTube. We discuss it through: (i) the Act’s and people’s authoritarian traits vis-à-vis the Constitutional Assembly’s democratic guiding principles; (ii) the Act’s and the Constitution’s material and formal aspects; and (iii) the risks to democracy due to misleading online information. In our analysis, we resort to: (i) history, legal and political theory literature on the National Security Doctrine; (ii) the legislation set by the Constitution and the Act; (iii) the appealing parties’ legal arguments; and (iv) a discourse analysis of electronic and social media texts.

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.

The pragmatic democracy towards representative democracy – Some reflection on Albanian political reality

Albania went through several crisis in the last 5 years: legal, political and natural ones. The first one was caused by a deep legal reform to fight the corruption. Meanwhile, the opposition boycott the parliament and the local elections, handing the majority party the victory and an uncontrolled power without a significant political resistance. The third crises was the earthquake and the pandemic. Despite all, the socialist party won the general election for the third time in a row, which is a new record. It raises some questions how a political party after 8 years of accusation of power abuse is being seen as a better choice although the need for change is present? Does representative democracy still work? Do people really believe in the political opposition? Does the parliament play still a representative role of the people? How can the political majority be controlled if there is no effective opposition? Is the pragmatic democracy replacing the representative one?