Populist rhetoric, constitutional legitimacy and constitutional culture

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Pisa, Italy: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Populism, Constitutional Democracy, and the Rule of Law workshop

In part by comparing the cases of Hungary and France, this morning Théo Fournier has spoken to his topic of Populist rhetoric, constitutional legitimacy and constitutional culture.

His presentation considered populism not as common ideology but as a common strategy for implementing various distinct ideologies, where populist strategies develop a specific rhetoric which takes root in the features of constitutional democracy. His logic was that this manipulates the rule-of-law and the majoritarian pillars of constitutional democracy by convincing a fictional majority that constitutional democracy gives rise to a tyranny of minorities. Further, that populism in action represents the second facet of the populist strategy – it corresponds to a specific constitutional strategy of legal and constitutional reforms aiming at disrupting constitutional democracy. This led Fournier to pose the question: what if calling populism by its real diversity (fascism, racism and antisemitism) is the most efficient way to fight them?

*PhD Researcher, Department of Law, European University Institute, Florence, and Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy