WORKSHOP: Voter-centred vs Politician-centred Perspectives on Democracy

Bucharest, November 19-20, 2020

The REDEM Workshop on Voter-centred vs Politician-centred Perspectives on Democracy sought to engage with salient questions concerning voting and democracy. It explored the different lenses through which voters and politicians look at these questions. Through its inter-disciplinary approach, the workshop has blended normative and empirically-oriented approaches within four debate panels. At the same time, the event had a strong public engagement component through its two roundtables, which drew on the knowledge and the experience of key electoral stakeholders - academics, politicians, prominent civil society experts on elections, and journalists. The topics presented and debated in the panels included questions on electoral clientelism, the different understandings of political representation, the ethical challenges of technological advances for voting (e.g., e-voting), the problem of voter motivation, the morality of abstaining from voting (especially in the case of referenda), and the electoral implications of dual citizenship, to name just a few. While some of the topics were discussed at a more general level, the workshop put a special emphasis on the specifics of the Romanian and Eastern European contexts in order to shed light on the particular electoral experiences that voters and politicians experience within this geographic space, experiences which in turn shape their own views on democracy and voting.

DAY 1: Thursday, November 19, 2020

DAY 2: Friday, November 20, 2020

Session 1

Workshop Opening


Annabelle Lever - Sciences Po/CEVIPOF (Project Coordinator)
Alexandru Volacu - University of Bucharest (Workshop Chair)

Parties, public reason and democracy

11:00-12:30 PANEL
Panel Chair: José Luis Martí - Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona

Enrico Biale - University of Piemonte Orientale
Partisanship as the cement of democracy

Chiara Destri - Sciences Po
Partisans and Democratic Responsibilities

Panel Discussion

Session 4

Multilingual and multi-ethnic democracy

09:30-11:45 PANEL
Panel Chair: Marcus Häggrot - Goethe University, Frankfurt a.M.

Nenad Stojanović - University of Geneva
Political parties in deeply multilingual polities: What (if anything) can the
   EU learn from Belgium, Canada and Switzerland?

Matteo Bonotti - Monash University, Australia
Multilingual parties and the ethics of partisanship

Joseph Lacey - University College, Dublin
Politicisation in deep diversity: Institutional design and crises in the
   European Union

Panel Discussion

Session 2

Parties, populism and the challenges of 'corruption'

13:30-15:45 PANEL
Panel Chair: Andreas Albertsen - Aarhus University

Bo Rothstein and Anna Persson - University of Göteborg
The electoral roots of corruption: Clientelism and citizens' limited
   demand for quality government

Gergana Dimova - University of Winchester
Spinning your way out of corruption? The 2020 Anti-Mafia Protests in

Lluis de Nadal Alsina - Columbia University
The (necessary?) man behind the empty signifier. The effect of populist
   theory on the development of charismatic leadership in Podemos

Panel Discussion

Session 5

The challenges of internal democracy

13:00-15:15 PANEL
Panel Chair: Valeria Ottonelli - University of Genoa

Samuel Bagg and Udit Bhatia - Oxford University
Intra-party democracy: A realist approach

Mihail Chiru - Oxford University
Patterns of intra-party democracy in Central and Eastern Europe

Attila Mráz - Sciences Po
Political, not personal: Political parties as doubly democratic associations

Panel Discussion

Session 3

Strategic Choices and Referendums - Voter and
   Politician Perspectives

17:00-19:30 ROUNDTABLE
Moderator: Andrei Poama - University of Leiden

Richard Bellamy University College London
Richard Bellamy is Professor of Political Science at the University College London. He has written 10 monographs, edited or co-edited more than 30 books and special issues and authored over 50 refereed journal articles and more than 100 short articles and book chapters on intellectual history, analytical legal and political philosophy and comparative politics. He has also been a leading figure in the normative study of the European Union and directed and participated in a number of Leverhulme, ESRC and European Commission research projects in this area. His most recent book is the monograph A Republican Europe of States: Cosmopolitanism, Intergovernmentalism and Democracy in the EU .
Sergiu Gherghina University of Glasgow
Sergiu Gherghina is a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the University of Glasgow. His current research covers topics in party politics, political participation, legislative behaviour, direct democracy and Central and Eastern European politics.
Lawrence LeDuc University of Toronto
Lawrence LeDuc is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is interested in political participation, electoral reform and direct democracy, and has conducted extensive comparative studies of many referenda around the world over a significant period of time. His books include Comparing Democracies: Elections and Voting in a Changing World, The Politics of Direct Democracy: Referendums in Global Perspective, and How Voters Change: The 1987 British Election Campaign in Perspective.
Spencer McKay New York University
Spencer McKay is a Research Fellow in the Department of Politics at New York University and a Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. His current work focuses on democratising referendums and more specifically on how institutions that involve citizens in public policy-making can be designed to embody democratic principles.
Theresa Reidy University College Cork
Theresa Reidy is a Political Scientist in the Department of Government at University College Cork. Her research interests lie in the areas of electoral behaviour and political institutions. She has recently led a comparative project on voter facilitation and engagement practices funded by the European Commission, as well as projects related to recent referendums in Ireland, the 2016 Irish general election and youth political participation.

Session 6

Representative democracy: Challenges and rewards
   for parties and voters in Central and Eastern Europe

16:00-18:30 ROUNDTABLE
Moderator: Annabelle Lever - Sciences Po/CEVIPOF

Sarah Birch King's College London
Sarah Birch is Professor of Political Science and Director of Research in the Political Economy Department at King's College London. Her research is mainly focused on the empirical study of political ethics, including electoral integrity, ethical reasoning in politics, and corruption perceptions. Her most recent book - Electoral Violence, Corruption and Political Order - is a comprehensive look at how violence has been used to manipulate competitive electoral processes around the world since World War II.
Zsolt Enyedi Oxford University
                                 Central European University
Zsolt Enyedi is currently Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Oxford University, as well as Professor in the Department of Political Science of the Central European University. His research focuses on party politics, comparative government, church and state relations, and political psychology (especially authoritarianism, prejudices and political tolerance). A former fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center (Washington D.C.) and the Center for Transatlantic Relations of the Johns Hopkins University, he is the author of Parties and Party Systems and the co-editor of The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe.
Rumena Filipova Centre for the Study of
                                            Democracy, Bulgaria
Rumena Filipova is Research Fellow in the Economic Programme at the Centre for the Study of Democracy in Sofia, Bulgaria. A former visiting fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center, the Polish Institute of International Affairs, and Chatham House, her research interests are corruption, state capture, foreign influence, disinformation and propaganda.
David Ost Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
                          Hobart and William Smith Colleges, USA
David Ost is a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, as well as a Professor of Political Science at the Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He has written extensively on East-European politics and society, with a focus on labor, democracy, political economy, capitalism and socialism. A former Professor of Sociology at the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities and a Visiting Professor at the Central European University, he currently is a Member of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, working on “Workers, the Fascist Allure, and the Transformation of the Left".
Septimius Pârvu Expert Forum, Romania
Septimius Pârvu is expert in good governance and electoral processes at the Expert Forum think-tank in Bucharest. He has several years of experience in coordinating capacity building projects for public institutions and civil society in areas such as anti-corruption, active citizenship and electoral monitoring. Between 2012 and 2019 he coordinated 9 election observation campaigns in Moldova, Montenegro, Slovakia and Estonia. He currently works on political clientelism and state capture in Romania and the neighbouring region.