Terminologies on Populism

Populist Constitutionalism

Populist constitutionalism: As far as the effects of populism on constitutional systems are concerned, there is no consensual concept. While political scientists tend to define populism or populist regimes according to the dichotomy of democracy and autocracy, legal scholars define and assess populism and populist trends in terms of their relationship to constitutionalism in a normative sense. In doing so, the central concept is ‘populist constitutionalism’.

This concept covers institutional challenges to liberal constitutionalism by invoking an abstract will of the people against the interests and political stance of the political establishment (the 'elites'). Populist constitutionalism is an overall notion embracing constitutional projects of specific political parties and ideologies claiming for comprehensive institutional reforms.  Such constitutional changes aim at shifting the balance of power from judicial bodies to popular representation,  as well as dismantling the institutional and procedural guarantees of the system of the rule of law which are perceived as obstacles to the realization of the ‘true’ popular will.

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