Under what circumstances can a democratic country take steps to legally dissolve a political party?

  • Andrew Maloney

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Abstract summary

    An effective representative democracy requires the maintenance of both individual and collective political rights especially those of freedom of expression and association. Recognising the intrinsic value of political parties to modern representative democracy and identifying four basic principles of democracy, this thesis will examine the steps taken within several modern democracies to restrict political rights for the greater good with particular emphasis on freedom of association as exemplified by political parties. Looking at a number of case studies, it will examine the mechanics of restriction and more fundamentally assess their legitimacy against a template of four principles. These are Representation, Popular Sovereignty, Equal Respect and Changeability. The Thesis will argue that a satisfactory balance between these principles requires the facilitation of substantive disagreement as long as such disagreement does not both ideologically and practically pose a fundamental threat to the continuation of democratic government. Legislation and Jurisprudence will be analysed across jurisdictions with respect to issues ranging from racist parties to those espousing totalitarian ideologies as well as those at least symbolically committed to violence and/or political Islam. This Thesis will conclude that for a prohibition to be legally and morally justified, it should pass a high evidentiary threshold regarding both an ideological and practically feasible challenge to democratic government.

    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJanet McLean (Supervisor) & Robin Churchill (Supervisor)

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