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The Democratic LeaderHow Democracy Defines, Empowers and Limits its Leaders$
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John Kane and Haig Patapan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199650477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199650477.001.0001

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Leadership in a Constitutional Democracy

Leadership in a Constitutional Democracy

Chapter:
(p.92) 5 Leadership in a Constitutional Democracy
Source:
The Democratic Leader
Author(s):

John Kane

Patapan Haig

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199650477.003.0006

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

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