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Elitism, Populism, and European Politics$
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Jack Hayward

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198280354

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198280351.001.0001

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The Populist Challenge to Élitist Democracy in Europe

The Populist Challenge to Élitist Democracy in Europe

(p.10) 1 The Populist Challenge to Élitist Democracy in Europe
Elitism, Populism, and European Politics

Jack Hayward (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The conflict between representative and direct democracy over which is the more authentic reflection of public opinion poses the tension between competing political leaders and a purported will of the people. The discredit of mediated party politics has led to increased recourse to referendums and to the emergence of social protest movements, notably extremists of left and right. The closed politics of the European Union, combined with the limited democratic legitimacy of its decision taking, have promoted a tendency towards demagogic unreality expressed through anti‐elitist populism.

Keywords:   direct democracy, European Union, extremism, legitimacy, party politics, populism, public opinion, referendum, representative democracy, social movements

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