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The Rise of the Unelected : Democracy and the New Separation of Powers - Frank Vibert

The Rise of the Unelected

Democracy and the New Separation of Powers


Published: 1st June 2007
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Unelected bodies, such as independent central banks, economic regulators, risk managers and auditors have become a worldwide phenomenon.

Democracies are increasingly turning to them to demarcate boundaries between the market and the state, to resolve conflicts of interest and to allocate resources, even in sensitive ethical areas such as those involving privacy or biotechnology.

This 2007 book examines the challenge that unelected bodies present to democracy and argues that, taken together, such bodies should be viewed as a new branch of government with their own sources of legitimacy and held to account through a new separation of powers. Vibert suggests that such bodies help promote a more informed citizenry because they provide a more trustworthy and reliable source of information for decisions.

This book will be of interest to specialists and general readers with an interest in modern democracy as well as policy makers, think tanks and journalists.

About the Author

Frank Vibert is the co-founder and Director of the European Policy Forum in Pall Mall. He has previously worked as a Senior Advisor at the World Bank and a Senior Fellow at the UNU-WIDER Institute. He writes extensively on regulatory, institutional and constitutional topics and his previous publications include Europe Simple, Europe Strong : The Future of European Governance (2001) and Europe : A Constitution for the Millennium (1995).

'This book is essential reading for all those concerned with the accountability of expert bodies, such as regulators, appointed with specific responsibilities and acting independently from ministers. Frank Vibert shows how an extension of the constitutional doctrines of the separation of powers provides a practical framework for their legitimacy. In a society increasingly dependent on knowledge, he highlights the importance of not focusing exclusively on politics as a means through which democratic societies engage in reasoned problem solving.' Sir Ian Byatt, Chairman, Water Commission for Scotland and Former Director General of Water Services (Ofwat) 'Vibert is right that too little attention has been paid to the implications of widespread outsourcing of government functions to unelected bodies. Furthermore, he proposes practical ways in which the accountability gap can be filled. This is a very valuable book.' Howard Davies, Director, LSE 'Frank Vibert's provocative and timely thesis represents a wake-up call to parliamentarians and all those who care about efficient, responsive and accountable public administration.' Rt Hon Lord Holme of Cheltenham, Chairman, House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution 'Vibert's analysis is unapologetically sweeping and confrontational, and like all important books, it raises as many questions as it answers.' Political Studies Review

The world of the unelected
The driving forces
The advantages of the new separation of powers
The challenge to conventional democratic theory
Adapting traditional approaches
The new separation of powers and the advent of the informed citizen
Informed citizens and the changing role of traditional institutions
The legitimacy of the new branch
The new separation of powers and the European Union
International institutions: blurring the boundaries
Conclusions: the accountability of the new branch
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521694148
ISBN-10: 0521694140
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 210
Published: 1st June 2007
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.2
Weight (kg): 0.354