Inside out? Directly elected ‘special representation’ of emigrants in national legislatures and the role of popular sovereignty

Collyer, Michael (2014) Inside out? Directly elected ‘special representation’ of emigrants in national legislatures and the role of popular sovereignty. Political Geography, 41. pp. 64-73. ISSN 0962-6298

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Abstract

It is increasingly common for political rights to be extended to citizens who are permanently resident outside their state of citizenship. In a small minority of cases (13 countries as of October 2013) emigrants are not only able to vote but also able to vote for their own representation. Such systems of ‘special representation’ introduce members of national legislatures who are responsible for emigrants across large parts of the world. These electoral systems highlight the problematic characterisation of states as territorial entities with an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’, since the state would then be turning itself ‘inside-out’ by performing domestic functions on foreign territory without the intervention of foreign states. Drawing on data from a recent survey of electoral systems to highlight common patterns between the 13 countries in which special representation is currently operated, the paper highlights the role of international migrants as emigrants, rather than as immigrants. It concludes that such developments cannot be explained territorially without serious problems for states that are manifestly not occurring. Special representation can only be understood as a re-emphasis of the significance of popular sovereignty. Democracy re-founds the legitimacy of the state in ‘the people’ but its extra-territorial performance results in a disarticulation between nation and state which states must creatively contain.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2017 16:33
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 16:33
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/66644
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