Leadership in a Constitutional Democracy

John Kane and Patapan Haig

in The Democratic Leader

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199650477
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739071 | DOI:
Leadership in a Constitutional Democracy

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Modern democracies are mostly liberal democracies. Constitutionalism and the rule of law strengthen the hand of the democratic leader by establishing legitimate offices and by making leaders executors of an alternative, august source of authority, the law. Yet the liberal aspect of constitutionalism, in limiting authority, also limits leaders’ discretion. This in turn gives rise to a new judicial politics that constitutes a profound constraint on democratic leadership. Leaders in liberal-constitutional democracies thus have to contend with an extensive and sophisticated legal politics that permeates politics-as-usual, and may occasionally trump it.

Keywords: liberalism; law; constitutionalism; office; authority

Chapter.  8197 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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