David cameron WPA Pool/Pool

Großbritanniens Feind im Inneren

PRINCETON – Die Demokratie steht überall vor gravierenden Herausforderungen. In den Vereinigten Staaten steht man unter dem Eindruck des bizarrsten Präsidentenvorwahlkampfes seit Menschengedenken, im Rahmen dessen populistische Außenseiter etablierte Parteiapparate auszuhebeln drohen. Brasilien ist durch eine Verfassungskrise gelähmt. Die Europäer führen ihre Malaise auf ein Demokratiedefizit in der Europäischen Union zurück. Und in Großbritannien heizt die Vision von der wiedergewonnenen nationalen Souveränität die Kampagne für den EU-Austritt an.

Doch die Bestrebungen zur Wiederherstellung der „Macht des Volkes“ können leicht dazu führen, die Menschen gegeneinander aufzubringen. Das bevorstehende Referendum über die Mitgliedschaft Großbritanniens ist ein typisches Beispiel dafür.

Die traditionellen Theoretiker der repräsentativen Demokratie stehen der direkten Demokratie zutiefst skeptisch gegenüber. Insbesondere Volksabstimmungen können ernsthafte Risiken mit sich bringen. Da komplexe Themen auf eine Entscheidung für oder gegen eine einzige Alternative reduziert werden, bekommt diese Entscheidung existenziellen Charakter – und wird zu einer potenziellen Quelle langfristiger tiefer Spaltung. Genau das passiert momentan in Großbritannien.

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