Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Personalism and the Trajectories of Populist Constitutions

Authors
  • Landau, David
Type
Published Article
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Oct 13, 2020
Volume
16
Pages
293–309
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-041420-113519
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

This article reassesses the relationship between populism, democracy, and constitutionalism in light of the strong tendency toward personalism that populism often carries. Populists who have taken power in recent years have often sought to carry out formal or informal constitutional changes. Whereas some of these changes have been celebrated as constitutional innovations, many have been viewed as threats to democracy. Focusing on examples from Latin America, this article shows that despite the stress populists put on constitutional change, the phenomenon remains tied to the charisma of individual leaders. Populist leaders go to great lengths to remain in office, and succession poses an acute regime crisis. A core task for constitutional design is incentivizing populist leaders to leave power, which is more likely to be achieved by channeling politics than by judicial fiat. If this can be accomplished, the ultimate legacy of populist constitutions may be more beneficial, and less harmful, than commonly thought.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times