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There is widespread agreement that democracy today faces unprecedented challenges. Populism has pushed governments in new and surprising constitutional directions. Analysing the constitutional system of illiberal democracies (from Venezuela to Poland) and illiberal phenomena in 'mature democracies' that are justified in the name of 'the will of the people', this book explains that this drift to mild despotism is not authoritarianism, but an abuse of constitutionalism. Illiberal governments claim that they are as democratic and constitutional as any other. They also claim that they are more popular and therefore more genuine because their rule is based on conservative, plebeian and 'patriotic' constitutional and rule of law values rather than the values liberals espouse. However, this book shows that these claims are deeply deceptive - an abuse of constitutionalism and the rule of law, not a different conception of these ideas.
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