Who has a claim to be included in a democratic political community? Answers to this question distinguish populists from democrats. But political theorists disagree amongst themselves what the right answer is. In this talk I propose that the question needs to be broken up into three: Whose interests should be represented in democratic decisions? Whose rights ought to be protected by democratic governments? Who has a claim to citizenship and voting rights? These questions call for different responses. Democratic legitimacy requires taking into account the interests negatively affected by a decision; it requires the provision of equal rights and contestation options for all subjected to the law; and access to citizenship status and the vote for all those with genuine links to a particular democratic polity. I also argue that the criteria for genuine links differ for states and municipalities. While citizenship in independent states is acquired as a birthright or through naturalisation, local citizenship should be provided to all residents.
Rainer Bauböck holds a chair in social and political theory at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the European University Institute, Florence. He is on leave from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna. From 1986 to 1999 Rainer Bauböck was a researcher and associate professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna. He has taught regularly at the Universities of Vienna and Innsbruck and was a recurrent visiting professor at Central European University Budapest.