Constitution-Building Processes and Democratization

1,075
This publication is only available in electronic format
Published: 
15 April 2006
Language: 
English
Pages: 
24
ISBN: 
91-85391-84-0 (Print)
Author(s): 
Yash Gai, Guido Galli

In recent decades there has been considerable activity in the making or revision of constitutions. This activity reflects a changed perception of the importance and purposes of constitutions.

Various contemporary constitutions have marked the end of an epoch and the start of another, under the hegemony of new social forces (of which Eastern Europe provides a good example). Some reflect the commitment or the pressure to democratize, resulting from disillusionment with or the unsustainability of a one-party regime or military rule (as in Thailand, Brazil, Argentina and Mozambique).

Others are the consequence of the settlement of long-standing internal conflicts, centred on the reconfiguration of the state, by a process of negotiation, often with external mediation, when neither side can win militarily or the cost of conflict becomes unacceptably high (South Africa, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sudan).

In almost all these cases, constitutions emphasize the principles of democracy and constitutionalism, and contain detailed bills of rights. Changes start with constitution-making, whether as a form of negotiation or the consolidation of social victory or reform. However, the record of the effectiveness of these constitutions is uneven.

Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Connection between Constitutions and Democracy

3. Constitution-building

4. Participation

5. Conclusion

Notes

References and Further Reading

Related Content

Dec
03
2019
General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Image Credit: Amanda Sourek, International IDEA

General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Image Credit: Amanda Sourek, International IDEA

News Article
Aug
28
2019

A mentor from the Coherence Programme facilitates a group of female representatives in the annual planning process of a local government in Karnali Province. Image credit: International IDEA
 

Feature Story