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Book launch: Andras Sajo: Ruling by Cheating – Governance in Illiberal Democracy

13.30-14.30, October 8

Participants: Günter Frankenberg (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt), Michał Matlak (Review of Democracy), András Sajó (CEU/DI), Julie Smith, Baroness Smith of Newnham (Cambridge University), Maciej Taborowski (Warsaw University/Deputy Ombudsman of Poland)
Moderator: Jan Wouters (KU Leuven)

This panel is co-organized with the RECONNECT Workshop: Returning to the Rule of Law?

The event will introduce and discuss the book Ruling by Cheating – Governance in Illiberal Democracy (2021, Cambridge University Press) by András Sajó.

There is widespread agreement that democracy today faces unprecedented challenges. Populism has pushed governments in new and surprising constitutional directions. Analyzing the constitutional system of illiberal democracies (from Venezuela to Poland) and illiberal phenomena in 'mature democracies' that are justified in the name of 'the will of the people', the book explains that this drift to mild despotism is not authoritarianism, but an abuse of constitutionalism.

Illiberal governments claim that they are as democratic and constitutional as any other. They also claim that they are more popular and therefore more genuine because their rule is based on conservative, plebeian and 'patriotic' constitutional and rule of law values rather than the values liberals espouse. However, this book shows that these claims are deeply deceptive - an abuse of constitutionalism and the rule of law, not a different conception of these ideas.

Watch the panel

About the speakers:
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Günter Frankenberg
Günter Frankenberg is Senior Professor of Public Law, Philosophy of Law and Comparative Law at the Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main. He is visiting professor at Harvard Law School; Tulane Law School, University of Pennsylvania; and Sciences Po Ecole de Droit. His research focuses on legal theory; comparative law; comparative constitutional studies of authoritarian regimes. His recent publications include Political Technology and the Erosion of the Rule of Law (Elgar, 2013), Comparative Law as Critique (Elgar 2016), Comparative Constitutional Studies (Elgar 2018), Authoritarian Constitutionalism (Elgar 2019, with H. Alviar); and Authoritarianism – Constitutional Perspectives (Elgar 2020).
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Michal Matlak
Michał Matlak is managing editor of the Review of Democracy, holds a PhD from the European University Institute. He was a visiting scholar at Princeton University, the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, KU Leuven and the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. His research focuses on the forms of secularism in the European integration process and various aspects of Europeanization. He works in the European Parliament as a policy advisor. 
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Andras Sajo
András Sajó is a former judge and Vice-President at the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg (2009-17). He is a Professor at CEU and was the founding dean of Legal Studies at CEU and taught extensively at various North American and European law schools (Cardozo, NYU, Chicago, Harvard, Bocconi) as recurrent visiting professor. He participated and/or advised in drafting the Ukrainian, Georgian, and South African constitutions. He served as Counsel to the President of the Republic of Hungary (1991-1992) and chaired various Codification Committees of the Hungarian Government and Parliament (1991-94). He was the founder and speaker of the Hungarian League for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. He is a member of the American Law Institute (1997) and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1995). He is currently on the Oversight Board of Facebook. His latest publications include The Constitution of Freedom (Oxford UP) (with Renata Uitz) and Ruling by Cheating (Cambridge UP). 
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Julie Smith
Julie Smith (Baroness Smith of Newnham) has extensive experience of European democracy, both academic and practical, as well as significant experience of managing research grants as PI both in POLIS and previously at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Her research focuses on democracy in the EU, European Parliament elections, the UK’s relations with the EU/Brexit and she is currently working on wider issues of the relationships between representative democracy and referendums.
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Maciej Taborowski
Maciej Taborowski took up the position of Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights on 6 May 2019. He holds a PhD in Law and is an Assistant Professor at the European Law Department of the Faculty of Law and Administration, the University of Warsaw, and the Department of European Law of the Institute of Law Studies, the Polish Academy of Sciences (currently on unpaid leave). He also cooperates with the European Centre of the University of Warsaw. He is the author of over 100 publications on the European law, including in renowned Polish and international magazines. He is a lecturer of the European Union’s institutional and economic law. As an advisor in the field of European law, he cooperated with national and international business entities and law firms. 
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Jan Wouters
Jan Wouters is Full Professor of International Law and International Organizations, Jean Monnet Chair ad personam EU and Global Governance, and founding Director of the Institute for International Law and of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, an interdisciplinary research center with the status of both a Jean Monnet and KU Leuven Centre of Excellence, at KU Leuven. He is also President of KU Leuven’s International Policy Council. He is a Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium for Sciences and Arts and practices law as Of Counsel at Linklaters, Brussels. He is Editor of the International Encyclopedia of Intergovernmental Organizations, Deputy Director of the Revue Belge de Droit International, and an editorial board member in eleven international journals. He has published widely on international and EU law, international organizations, global governance, and corporate and financial law, including 75 books and more than 140 journal articles and 230 chapters in international books. Apart from his participation in international scientific networks, he advises international organizations and governments, trains international officials and is often asked to comment international events in the media. 

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