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Federalism and democracy. The case of minority nations: a federalist deficit
Requejo Coll, Ferran
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament de Ciències Polítiques i Socials; Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Grup de Recerca en Teoria Política
In this chapter, after pointing out the different logics that lie behind the familiar ideas of democracy and federalism, I have dealt with the case of plurinational federal democracies. Having put forward a double criterion of an empirical nature with which to differentiate between the existence of minority nations within plurinational democracies (section 2), I suggest three theoretical criteria for the political accommodation of these democracies. In the following section, I show the agonistic nature of the normative discussion of the political accommodation of this kind of democracies, which bring monist and pluralist versions of the demos of the polity into conflict (section 3.1), as well as a number of conclusions which are the result of a comparative study of 19 federal and regional democracies using four analytical axes: the uninational/plurinational axis; the unitarianism-federalism axis; the centralisation-decentralisation axis; and the symmetry-asymmetry axis (section 3.2). This analysis reveals shortcomings in the constitutional recognition of national pluralism in federal and regional cases with a large number of federated units/regions with political autonomy; a lower degree of constitutional federalism and a greater asymmetry in the federated entities or regions of plurinational democracies. It also reveals difficulties to establish clear formulas in these democracies in order to encourage a “federalism of trust” based on the participation and protection of national minorities in the shared government of plurinational federations/regional states. Actually, there is a federal deficit in this kind polities according to normative liberal-democratic patterns and to what comparative analysis show. Finally, this chapter advocates the need for a greater normative and institutional refinement in plurinational federal democracies. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to introduce a deeper form of “ethical” pluralism -which displays normative agonistic trends, as well as a more “confederal/asymmetrical” perspective, congruent with the national pluralism of these kind of polities.
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