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Mapping ‘Militant Democracy’: Variation in Party Ban Practices in European Democracies (1945-2015)

Abstract

Introduction – Explaining party bans, political and legal contexts – Banned parties and banning states in Europe, the political context – Nature of banned parties – Nature of banning states – Tolerant and intolerant democracies, the legal context – Evolving rationales for party bans and procedures for proscription – Contemporary rationales for banning parties – Anti-democratic ideology – Non-democratic internal organisation – Party names – Party orientation to violence – Protecting the present order – Evolving rationales for party bans – Weimar and legitimacy paradigms – Conclusions, directions for future research

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Authors note: Both authors have contributed equally. This is one of several joint works and the ordering of names simply reflects a principle of rotation. Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Professor Omer Faruck Genckaya, Professor Susan Scarrow, Professor Nicole Bolleyer, Dr. Tom Mustily, Dr. Ilke Toygur, Dr. Stefanie Beyens and Dr. Juan Rodriguez Teruel and the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions on a previous version of this paper.

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1 E.g. RensmannT., ‘Procedural Fairness in a Militant Democracy: The “Uprising of the Decent” Fails before the Federal Constitutional Court’, 4 German Law Journal (2003) p. 1117 ; SajóA. (ed.), Militant Democracy (Eleven International Publishing 2004); MinkenbergM., ‘Repression and Reaction: Militant Democracy and the Radical Right in Germany and France’, 40 Patterns of Prejudice (2006) p. 25 ; KlamtM., ‘Militant Democracy and the Democratic Dilemma: Different Ways of Protecting Democratic Institutions’, in F. Bruinsma and D. Nelken (eds.) Explorations in Legal Cultures (Reed Business 2007); ThielM., The Militant Democracy Principle in Modern Democracies (Ashgate 2009); MarešM., ‘Czech Militant Democracy in Action: Dissolution of the Workers’ Party and the Wider Context of This Act’, 26 East European Politics & Societies (2010) p. 33 ; BourneA., ‘The Proscription of Political Parties and “Militant Democracy”’, 7 The Journal of Comparative Law (2012) p. 196 ; CapocciaG., ‘Militant Democracy: The Institutional Bases of Democratic Self-Preservation’, 9 Annual Review of Law and Social Sciences (2013) p. 207 .

2 LoewensteinK., ‘Militant Democracy and Fundamental Rights I’, 31 The American Political Science Review (1937) p. 417 .

3 E.g. Klamt, supra n. 1; Thiel, supra n. 1.

4 MuddeC., ‘Defending Democracy and the Extreme Right’, in R. Eatwell and C. Mudde (eds.) Western Democracies and the Extreme Right Challenge (Routledge 2004) p. 197 ; Thiel, supra n. 1, p. 384 .

5 BlighG., ‘Defending Democracy: A New Understanding of the Party-Banning Phenomenon’, 46 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law (2013) p. 1335-1336 .

6 Bourne, supra n. 1, p. 197 .

7 RummensS. and AbtsK., ‘Defending Democracy: The Concentric Containment of Political Extremism’, 58 Political Studies (2010) p. 649 ; CapocciaG., Defending Democracy: Reactions to Extremism in Interwar Europe (John Hopkins University Press 2005); PedahzurA., ‘The defending democracy and the extreme right: A Comparative Analysis’, in Eatwell and Mudde (eds.), supra n. 4.

8 SajóA., ‘From Militant Democracy to the Preventive State’, 27 Cardozo Law Review (2012) p. 2255 .

9 Bligh, supra n. 5.

10 For a critique see Capoccia, supra n. 1.

11 We were not able to obtain sufficient data to include the micro-states Iceland, Luxembourg or Malta.

12 Capoccia, supra n. 1, p. 209 ; Capoccia, supra n. 7; DownsW., Political Extremism in Democracies: Combating Intolerance (Palgrave MacMillan 2012).

13 BremsE., ‘Freedom of Association and the Question of Party Closures’, in W. Sadurski (ed.) Political Parties Under Stress in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press 2006); RosenblumN.L., ‘Multiculturalism and the Anti-discrimination Principle’, 1 Law and Ethics of Human Rights (2007) p. 1; IssacharoffS., ‘Fragile Democracies’, 120 Harvard Law Review (2007) p. 1407 ; Bligh, supra n. 5.

14 Venice Commission, Compilation of Venice Commission Opinions and Reports Concerning Political Parties, Strasbourg, CDL (2013) 045, 2013.

15 SartoriG., Parties and Party Systems (Cambridge University Press 1976) p. 117-118 ; CapocciaG., ‘Anti-system Parties: A Conceptual Reassessment’, 14 Journal of Theoretical Politics (2001) p. 9 .

16 E.g. KirchheimerO., Political Justice: The Use of Legal Procedure for Political Ends (Princeton University Press 1961) p. 159-160 ; GordonA., ‘Limits on Extremist Political Parties: A Comparison of Israeli Jurisprudence with that of the United States and West Germany’, 10 Hastings International and Comparative Law Review (1987) p. 397 ; Downs, supra n. 12, p. 5 .

17 BourneA., ‘Democratization and the illegalization of political parties in Europe’, 19 Democratization (2012) p. 1065 ; KarvonenL., ‘Legislation on Political Parties: A Global Comparison’, 13 Party Politics (2007) p. 437 .

18 Bourne, supra n. 17.

19 Bourne, supra n. 17.

20 LinzJ. and StepanA., ‘Towards Consolidated Democracies’, 7 Journal of Democracy (1996) p. 15-16 .

21 Kirchheimer, supra n. 16, p. 137-138 ; BachesU., ‘Limits of Political Freedom in Democratic Constitutional States: a Comparative Study on Germany, France and the USA’, 3 Totalitarismus and Demokratie (2006) p. 265-282 ; Klamt, supra n. 1; Karvonen, supra n. 17; Downs, supra n. 12; BleichE. and LambertF., ‘Why Are Racist Associations Free in Some States and Banned in Others? Evidence from 10 Liberal Democracies’, 36 West European Politics (2013) p. 122 .

22 FoxG. and NolteG., ‘Intolerant Democracies’, in G. Fox and B. Roth (eds.), Democratic Governance and International Law (Cambridge University Press 2000) p. 389 ; Thiel, supra n. 1; Downs, supra n. 12.

23 Fox and Nolte, supra n. 22, p. 406 .

24 Ibid., p. 406-408.

25 Ibid., p. 389.

26 Bourne, supra n. 1; see also Thiel, supra n. 1, p. 389 .

27 CapocciaG. , ‘Repression, Incorporation, Lustration, Education: How Democracies React to Their Enemies: Towards a Theoretical Framework for Comparative Analysis of Defence of Democracy’, Paper presented to ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshop, Grenoble, 6-11 April 2001, p. 13; see also Mudde, supra n. 4; Issacharof, supra n. 13.

29 WareA., Political Parties and the Party System (Oxford University Press 1996).

30 CorcueraJ. et al. (eds.), La Ilegalización de Partidos Políticos en las Democracias Occidentales [The Illegalisation of Political Parties in Western Democracies] (Dykinson 2008).

31 BaleT., ‘Are Bans on Political Parties Bound to Turn Out Badly?’, 5 Comparative European Politics (2007) p. 141 ; Bligh, supra n. 5; Rosenblum, supra n. 13.

32 Bale, supra n. 31, p. 144 ; see also Downs, supra n. 12, p. 95 .

33 Bale, supra n. 31, p. 152 .

34 The 17 states in our survey that have not banned parties are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland.

35 CollierD. and LevitskyS., ‘Democracy with Adjectives. Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research’, 49 World Politics (1997) p. 430-451 .

36 BachesU., Political Extremes: A Conceptual History from Antiquity to the Present (Routledge 2010) p. 189 .

37 Ibid., p. 170-172.

38 Casal BértoaF. and BourneA. , ‘Prescribing Democracy? Party Proscription and Party System Stability’, MPSA Annual Conference in Chicago, 16-19 April 2015.

39 NiesenP., ‘Banning the Former Ruling Party’, 19 Constellations (2012) p. 545 .

40 For further details see Bourne, supra n. 1, p. 1070 .

41 Bourne, supra n. 1.

42 Bourne, supra n. 1; Fox and Nolte, supra n. 22.

43 E.g. BuisC.L., ‘France’ in M. Thiel (ed.), The ‘Militant Democracy’ Principle in Modern Democracies (Ashgate 2009) p. 82-84 and p. 89; VidalC., ‘Spain’ in ibid. p. 260 .

44 Mudde , supra n. 4, p. 196 .

45 Issacharof, supra n. 13, p. 1409 .

46 For more detailed discussion of some recent cases see Bourne, supra n. 1.

47 E.g. Brems, supra n. 13; Rosenblum, supra n. 13; Issacharof, supra n. 13; NiesenP, ‘Anti-extremism, Negative Republicanism, Civil Society: Three Paradigms for Banning Political Parties’, (2002) 7 German Law Journal 249 and Niesen, supra n. 39; Bligh, supra n. 5.

48 Brems, supra n. 13.

49 StelzerM., The Constitution of the Republic of Austria (Hart Publishing 2011) p. 50 .

50 During the case, it emerged that a large percentage of the National Democratic Party’s inner circle were in fact undercover agents or informants for the German security services and that the agents had influenced party activities. However, when the Constitutional Court called for names of agents and the security services refused to do so, the case against the party was closed.

51 Casal BértoaF. et al., ‘Party Laws in Comparative Perspective: Evidence and Implications’, in I. van Biezen and H.M. ten Napel (eds.) Regulating Political Parties: European Democracies in Comparative Perspective (Leiden University Press 2014) p. 357 .

52 In this context, and as the majority of the doctrine has maintained, the Constitution constitutes ‘a common program for all political parties’, GençkayaÖ.F., ‘Impact of Party Regulation on Small Parties and Independent Candidates in Turkey’, 41 The Legal Regulation of Political Parties Working Papers Series (2014) p. 6 .

53 Brems, supra n. 13, p. 160 .

54 Ibid., p. 160 and 152.

55 Van HolsteynJ. , ‘Beating a Dead Horse? The Dutch State and the Defence of Democracy against Right-wing Extremism’, ECPR Joint sessions, Edinburgh, 29 March-2 April 2003, p. 13-16.

56 Mareš, supra n. 1, p. 39-44 .

57 Brems, supra n. 13, p. 163 .

58 Ibid.

59 Brems, supra n. 13, p. 166 .

60 CooganT.P., The IRA (Palgrave 2000) p. 283 .

61 Brems, supra n. 13, p. 169 .

62 Mareš, supra n. 1, p. 39-44 .

63 Brems, supra n. 13, p. 172 .

64 E.g. Bligh, supra n. 5; Niesen, supra n. 47; Rosenblum, supra n. 13, p. 23-24 .

65 Bligh, supra n. 5, p. 1326 .

66 Ibid., p. 1330.

67 Ibid., p. 1326; see also Rosenblum supra n. 13, p. 23-24 .

68 Bligh, supra n. 5, p. 1326 and 1336.

69 Ibid., p. 1345.

70 Ibid., p. 1354.

71 Ibid., p. 1365.

72 KemmerzellJ., ‘Why There is no Party Ban in the South African Constitution’, 17 Democratization (2010) p. 687 .

73 Niesen, supra n. 39, p. 552 .

74 Bourne, supra n. 17; HartmannC. and KemmerzellJ., ‘Understanding Variation in Party Bans in Africa’, 17 Democratization (2010) p. 642 .

75 SchimmelfennigF. and SedelmeierU. (eds.), The Europeanization of Central and Eastern Europe (Cornell University Press 2005).

76 E.g. Kemmerzell, supra n. 72 or on Spain, FerreresV., ‘The New Regulation of Political Parties in Spain, and the Decision to Outlaw Batasuna’, in SajóA. (ed.), Militant Democracy (Eleven International Publishing 2004) p. 141 .

77 ArtD., The Politics of the Nazi Past in Germany and Austria (Cambridge University Press 2006).

78 BourneA., ‘Why Ban Batasuna? Terrorism, Political Parties and Democracy’, 13 Comparative European Politics (2015) p. 325 .

79 BuzanB. et al., Security: A New Framework for Analysis (Lynne Rienner 1998) p. 23 .

80 van DonselaarJ., ‘Post-war Fascism in the Netherlands’, 19 Crime, Law and Social Change (1993) p. 95 .

81 FleinerT., et al., Swiss Constitutional Law (Kluwer 2005) p. 179 .

* Authors note: Both authors have contributed equally. This is one of several joint works and the ordering of names simply reflects a principle of rotation. Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Professor Omer Faruck Genckaya, Professor Susan Scarrow, Professor Nicole Bolleyer, Dr. Tom Mustily, Dr. Ilke Toygur, Dr. Stefanie Beyens and Dr. Juan Rodriguez Teruel and the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions on a previous version of this paper.

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European Constitutional Law Review
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