Transnational Parliamentarism and Global Governance: The New Practice of Democracy
In: The Actors of Postnational Rule-making: Contemporary Challenges of European and International Law, by Elaine Fahey (ed), London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 113-132.
17 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2015 Last revised: 5 Oct 2016
Date Written: August 13, 2015
Ever since the establishment of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in the late 19th century, the idea of parliaments acting beyond the remits of their constitutional orders has grown steadily. Especially after the Second World War and the Cold War, there was a rising trend of drawing parliaments into the global arena. This resulted in the creation of no less than 100 international parliamentary institutions by 2014. This political phenomenon of ‘transnational parliamentarism’ is an attempt by elected representatives to address the problem of the democratic legitimacy of global governance and of the rulemaking processes flowing therefrom. This article provides a theoretical conceptualisation of the new manifestations of autonomous parliamentary actorness beyond the state. To this end, I discuss the arguments made by cosmopolitan, global and postnational variants of democracy and constitutionalism as two key structural devices for guaranteeing freedom, equality and justice in the political sphere. Legal and political science approaches are blended to assess the merits of transnational parliamentarism for effecting more legitimate global governance. On this basis and in order to show the variety of existing transnational parliamentary bodies, this chapter typifies them, examines their structure and operation, and highlights their functions. The chapter argues that, although occurring in the virtual absence of formal powers, parliamentary autonomy and actorness beyond the confines of the electoral constituencies unveils new elements of democracy in the 21st century as well as new facets of parliamentary functions in the postnational politico-legal space.
Keywords: Parliaments, global governance, democracy, legitimacy, international parliamentary institutions, transnational actors
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