Modern Trends in Citizens’ Participation in the Political Life of European Countries

Bolotina I.I., Lavrikova A.A.


In recent decades, the state of institutions of representative democracy in many European countries is often characterized as a deepening crisis. This manifests itself in a drop in the level of people’s trust in electoral institutions and political parties, a decrease in the importance of parliamentary structures, this unfolding against the background of strengthening of the executive branch of political systems. As a result, in modern political science and journalism, the adequacy of the basic principles of democracy to the internal structure of societies (first of all, the Western ones) is increasingly being questioned. Experience has shown that many states belonging to the category of democracies strive to form uniformed systems for the adoption and implementation of authoritative decisions binding on all. These structures are vertical in nature, and their decisions are imposed on both individual citizens and groups of citizens. Besides, the characteristics of society are constantly changing, and the vector of these transformations does not necessarily contribute to the development of democracy. Thus it can be argued that interactions between elites without involvement of ordinary citizens in the political processes is fraught with a decreasing efficiency of political systems and never provides a proper balance of interests between the state, society and individuals. Such events in the European countries as the referendum favoring secession of Scotland (2014) and Catalonia (2017), reactions against migrants in Germany (2018) and the «yellow vests» movement in France (2018–2019) are the best evidence of that. The problem of defining new formats for political participation is therefore becoming ever more important, not so much in terms of numbers of citizens involved as in terms of quality, the main task being identification of the basic trends of political participation both at the national (local) and regional (in our case European) levels.


political participation; political practices; the distribution of social benefits; the crisis of democratic institutions; centrifugal tendencies of political development; centripetal tendencies of political development.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2019.04.03

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