Populism Representative Democracy

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Theory: Populism and Representative Democracy
In this section of the article the theoretical debate on the relationship between populism and representative democracy is introduced. The definition and the status of the representative democracy is not discussed in detail. It is claimed though that representative democracy as we know it in practice is party democracy. The rise of mass political parties not only has expanded the electorate but, importantly, also introduced a new kind of links between voters and representatives (Manin, 1997). Party democracy in its classic shape, as described by Bernard Manin (1997), is a form of representative democracy with its particular features. To begin with, the society is seen as divided into different
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It is taken into consideration that populism not only acquires different shapes in different contexts, but the concept itself can be defined very differently – as a style (Canovan, 1999; Moffitt & Tormey, 2014), as a strategy (Weyland, 2001; Jansen, 2011), or as a thin-centered ideology (Canovan, 2002; Mudde, 2004). In this article populism is defined according to the widely used definition by Cas Mudde (2004): a set of ideas “that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, ‘the pure people’ versus ‘the corrupt elite’, and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people”. Therefore, as far as populism in party democracy is concerned, the most obvious tension is between the general will of the people (as claimed by the populist actors) and the different interests of society groups' (as in party democracy). Accordingly, homogeneous elite, as seen by populists, is in contradiction with having different political parties, which represent separate group interests in the party …show more content…
Instead, inadequately significant role is given to the leader who is supposed to make the decisions for the people as a whole. Moreover, representative democracy is necessarily based on a compromise. However, populism expresses a such strong opposition to "the other" (as for example, political elite) that compromises become impossible (Pasquino, 2008). Likewise, Nadia Urbinati claims that populism is dangerous for democracy because it attempts to centralize the power and rejects procedurality (Urbinati, 2014, Chapter3). The election (as a procedure) and political forum (as a discussion) are necessary for a competition, a reflection, and a choice of the ideas. Populism not only rejects pluralism and a variety of opinions but also opposes divisions of the people as a unit. The people as a whole is the only "part" that should be represented. Even more, populism rejects procedures and institutions which allow separating and connecting government with the citizens at the same time. Instead of that, populism projects majority rule (the rule of the people) to the direct rule through the leader. As a result, populism rejects both mediation through ideas and through institutions, and thus rejects representation (Urbinati, 2014,

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