Populist Government and Constitutional Democracy

Radical Incompatibility or Possible Coexistence?


  • Francesco Maria Scanni University of Calabria




Populism, Government, Democracy, Liberalism, Representation


Until the first decade of the 21th century, scholars and reporters have identified contemporary populism as an element of anti-systemic revolt; furthermore, they have also recognized an incompatibility between populist phenomenon and government function. However, some recent cases of populist parties in power seem to be able to put into crisis more than one certainty regarding the nature and scope of the populist phenomenon. This observation raises the questions of this work: what harmful effects does populism in government produce on liberal institutions, pluralism, and representation in constitutional democracies? Do these effects merely erode the liberal component, or do they extend to produce a degeneration of democracy as a whole? And finally: what are the risks for democracy? The article corroborates the diarchic theories of democracy and aims to demonstrate the lack of compatibility between the principles of liberal democracy and populist principles, which have a negative impact not only on the liberal component, but also on the quality of democracy in its entirety.

Author Biography

Francesco Maria Scanni, University of Calabria

Francesco Maria Scanni is Ph.D in Politics, Culture and Development at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Calabria. He is the author of the monograph "Differenziazione territoriale e qualità€ della democrazia" Aracne, and his contributions have appeared in several international journals. His research interests lie in the field of political science and political theory. In particular, he works on populism, quality of democracy, political parties and voter analysis. Email: Francesco.scanni@unical.it.




How to Cite

Francesco Maria Scanni. (2021). Populist Government and Constitutional Democracy: Radical Incompatibility or Possible Coexistence?. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 51, 55–73. https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.51.4