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6 - The Reckoning: Evaluating Democratic Leadership

from Part II - Knowledge

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2020

Miguel Poiares Maduro
Affiliation:
European University Institute, Florence
Paul W. Kahn
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
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Summary

The pandemic is still upon us, but the reckoning with its political consequences in Europe has already begun. A commission of inquiry will be set up in the UK to explain why COVID-19 has claimed more than 50,000 lives in a country that once prided itself on its public administration and its health service; public prosecutors in Italy are interviewing the Prime Minister to see whether there was dereliction of duty in the Bergamo region, where the epidemic had a savage impact; in Spain, grieving families are suing politicians for failing to order quarantine early enough. Elsewhere, the daily plebiscite that is democracy is in full swing: Opinion research companies are tabulating how citizens feel their leaders “performed” and the opinion formers on social media are assessing leaders’ records, often according to their own ideological predilections. Future elections will be referenda, in whole or in part, on leadership performance in the pandemic.

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Chapter
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Democracy in Times of Pandemic
Different Futures Imagined
, pp. 89 - 103
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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