Charismatic leadership is crucial for the symbolic construction of the political subject in populism. Populism needs a mobilized popular sector in order to be successful, but the movement created by the alliance of the leader and her followers is not autonomously organized. In order to evaluate possible effects of the populist twisting on democracy, the chapter describes the concepts of populism and leadership, pointing out the ambivalences within populism concerning democratic representation. By exploring the populist structure, it analyzes three important features responsible for these mechanisms: the populist construction of "the people" as a unity, the apparently unmediated relationship between the leader and the people, and the anti-elite attitude. What is less studied are the components linked to them that are responsible for the populist twist: the symbolic construction of similarity between the leader and the people, and the identification with the leader. The chapter analyzes these components and concludes by discussing possible negative effects of populism on democracy.