Mgr Jakub HUDSKÝ
University of Wroclaw
English abstract: The aim of this article is to present the assumptions of the populist constitutionalism in view of the unwavering support for populist groups and the related beliefs, resulting in irreversible changes in the perception of democratic reality. The starting point is an attempt to grasp the essence of populism and describe its elementary features. Populism is often defined in opposition to liberal thought and is analysed on two plans – the ideological and pragmatic one. An analysis of both of these elements makes it possible to indicate the political concept of populist democracy, the implementation of which is the goal of populists who achieve power. The assumptions of populist democracy are based on the implementation of the unfettered and current will of the people; at the same time, this concept perceives reality in an agonistic way – it is aware of the political necessity of all elements of public space, which make up the arena for the constantly clashing opposing interests. The above theses create a perspective through which one should look at the phenomenon of populist constitutionalism. There is no doubt that its starting point will be putting into practice populist beliefs and assumptions of populist democracy. Populist constitutional discourse, striving to implement the will of the people, does not reject the liberal institutions that have been in force so far. On the contrary, this phenomenon takes advantage of the hitherto achievements of constitutionalism and strives to transform them in such a way that – at least in principle – the will of the people can be implemented in the most unrestricted way possible. The final part of the reflections concerns the approach of populism to the constituent power, i.e., the power that enables the adoption and amendment of the constitution. It might seem that ‘legalizing’ the constituent power (e.g., in the form of an imperative mandate or popular referenda) would lead to the expansion of the power of the people, but populists do not seem to share this position. They point out that establishing a procedure which allows for additional expression of the will by citizens actually constrains their movements. Formal restrictions (e.g., the minimum number of signatures required) can often thwart the popular initiative.
Keywords: populist constitutionalism, populism, law, illiberalism, constituent power
Published: Number 4(37)/2023, pp. 40-53.
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