The paper focuses on the relation between the principles of popular sovereignty and national representation in pluralist democracies. At first, the Author analyses the main views on the concept of representation. Then, he examines the history of the evolution of representative institutions, from the medieval representation - that was characterized by binding mandate - to the modern political representation - that is characterized by the freedom in the parliamentary mandate -, and how such shift has been gradual and complex. The comparative analysis shows, moreover, that today the principle of political representation is strictly linked to the popular sovereignty and that the most important European democracies generally adopt the principle of freedom of the mandate. In recent times, however, the "myth" of the imperative mandate has become relevant again, supported by populist policies that reject the classical forms of representative democracy. The Author criticizes such views, emphasizing the close link existing in contemporary States between political representation, freedom of the parliamentary mandate and popular sovereignty.
Keywords: Rappresentanza, popolo, sovranità, nazione, democrazia, pluralismo; representation, people, sovereignty, nation, democracy, pluralism