Monday 15 March 2021

Challenging the Legal Theory of Authoritarian Populism - Lecture at PSA21

I will have a lecture at Political Studies Association Annual International Conference 2021 with title "Challenging the Legal Theory of Authoritarian Populism". Our panel (Panel 512 Populist Challenges to the Liberal Order) will be between 9:30am - 11:00am (GMT time zone) Tuesday, 30 March 2021. The structure of the panel is available from here, and the interesting program can be seen under this link.


There is a misunderstanding in conjunction with the contemporary authoritarian populist regimes, which are characterized with anti-legal sentiments and considered political structure without legal theory. In fact, these kinds of regimes do have a specific legal and constitutional theory and the crisis of liberal democracy brought forward the clash of leader-based and legal-based political regimes. The rise of liberal democracy depoliticised the post-war political structures, which resulted, on the one hand, in a loss of control over neoliberal autocracy, and, on the other hand, in the break-through of right-wing authoritarian populism. By the crisis of liberal democracy, its main concern on rule of law over politics has also lost its hegemony. It is a new hegemonic struggle between law and politics, but the charismatic populist leaders are not about to crash legal systems and constitutionalism. That is why we can speak about populist constitutionalism and constitutional dictatorship, which have been analysed in this paper in the framework of the contemporary Hungarian Orbán regime. Authoritarian populist regimes are based on rule by law, moreover they are trying to constitutionalise this approach. So, what is to come is nothing other than the total reconfiguration of post-war legal/political order in an unprecedented war between law and politics.