Populist Democracy vs Party Democracy



In their introduction to this volume, Yves Mény and Yves Surel draw a distinction between ‘popular democracy’ and ‘constitutional democracy’, the two pillars on which the legitimacy and effectiveness of democratic regimes rest. The popular democracy pillar is identified with an emphasis on the role of the demos that is, the free association of citizens, the maintenance of free elections, and the freedom of political expression. Popular democracy entails government by the people. The constitutional pillar, on the other hand, is identified with an emphasis on the institutional requirements for good governance—the establishment of rules and constraints limiting executive autonomy, the guaranteeing of individual and collective rights, and the maintenance of a system of checks and balances intended to prevent the abuse of power. The constitutional pillar may be associated with the defence of the public good, entailing government for the people. For Mény and Surel, an ideal democracy should aim to establish an equilibrium between both pillars.


Political Strategy Party Democracy Political Class Constitutional Reform Constitutional Democracy 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2002

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