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Title: Securing democracy : a comparative analysis of emergency powers in Europe
Authors: Khakee, Anna
Keywords: War and emergency powers -- Europe
Europe -- Military policy
Martial law -- Europe
State of siege
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces
Citation: Khakee, A. Securing Democracy : a comparative analysis of emergency powers in Europe. Geneva: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, 2009.
Abstract: It is widely agreed that, at present, states and societies face a number of complex (and partly new) threats and challenges, including pandemics, terrorist attacks, transnational organised crime, sudden and large scale population flows, as well as natural catastrophes resulting from global warming. Political leaders often do not know how to tackle such multi-faceted and unfamiliar challenges, in particular if they emerge suddenly and take on large proportions. As a consequence, the reflex of resorting to emergency powers – i.e. to grant the government extraordinary powers beyond its normal constitutional role – can be strong in such situations. Declaring a state of exception does, however, come at a cost. In the past, emergency powers have virtually always implied limits on individual human rights and, while intended to secure the survival of the state, such extensive executive powers have not always secured the survival of democracy. In other words, the risk of an undermining of the state’s constitutional order, and in particular the role of parliament, the judiciary and other oversight bodies, always looms.
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