From “democratic erosion” to “a conversation among equals”

Paper by Roberto Gargarella: “In recent years, legal and political doctrinaires have been confusing the democratic crisis that is affecting most of our countries with a mere crisis of constitutionalism (i.e., a crisis in the way our system of “checks and balances” works). Expectedly, the result of this “diagnostic error” is that legal and political doctrinaires began to propose the wrong remedies for the democratic crisis. Usually, they began advocating for the “restoration” of the old system of “internal controls” or “checks and balances”, without paying attention to the democratic aspects of the crisis that would require, instead, the strengthening of “popular” controls and participatory mechanisms that favored the gradual emergence of a “conversation among equals”. In this work, I focus my attention on certain institutional alternatives – citizens’ assemblies and the like- that may help us overcome the present democratic crisis. In particular, I examine the recent practice of citizens’ assemblies and evaluate their functioning…(More)”.