Ondřej Preuss

The People as Constitutional Entity?

Jurisprudence 1/2015 Section: Articles Page: 3-9

Keywords: the People, citizen, the State, sovereignity

Abstract: The article deals with one of the basic questions of constitutional law. What is the People? How the People could affect “the day to day business” of the state? This question is also up-to-date, because of referendum on Scottish independence, a crisis in Ukraine and other separatist movements around the world. There are two basic approaches to the notion (definition) of the People. The People could be seen as the sum of citizens or even only registered voters in the state. On the other side, the People could be defined as abstract entity, which only indirectly legitimates political bodies. This abstract People consists of ancestors, current generation and our descendants in the same time. Conclusion of the Article is based on deduction, that it is hazardous to understand "the People" only as an abstract body with no real will and power. The entity which only legitimizes the "independent" institutions. In such case, there is no real democracy and no real influence of the People to the running of the state. Nevertheless, the opposite extreme is also potentially harmful. The People could not be seen as the sum of citizens or even only registered voters in the state. However, the People has to have the opportunity to act as a constitutional entity, especially in the extreme situation. For example it could rise its right to resistance, to be able to reveal its opinion.