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The Role of Constitution-Building Processes in Democratization - Case Studies

International IDEA conducted during 2004 and 2005 a comparative study of the role of constitutions and constitution-making processes in situations of democracy building and conflict management. The case studies look into 12 countries and provide an analysis of the role of constitution-building processes in democratization.

The studies revealed that:

  • In nearly all recent cases, democratic transition and post conflict state-building have been accompanied by constitution building processes, where the constitution was either negotiated anew or fundamentally redrawn.
  • Modern processes of constitution building do more than fix the traditional power relations between citizens and the state: they accommodate diverse tasks that include .reconciliation, consensus building, defining symbols of the state under a new common identity, protecting the role of civil society, providing for socio-economic frameworks, recognizing culture and the environment, and addressing past human rights abuses.
  • Participatory processes of constitution making that recognize the legitimate input of all, have the potential to influence the sense of ownership and respect for constitutions which in turn become building blocks for sustainable democracy building and conflict management.
  • When citizens participate in making their constitution, they also receive unparalleled education about their democracy.
  • Citizens want to assert their right to political participation beginning from the making of fundamental decisions regarding their state. 

 Download country case studies:

 - Colombia:    English and  Spanish  by Iván Marulanda

 - Afghanistan  by Carolyn McCool

 - Fiji   by Jill Cottrell and Yash Ghai

 - Guatemala  by Roddy Brett and Antonio Delgado

 - Nigeria:     Internal perspective   and   External perspective  by John Simpkins

 - Kenya   by Jill Cottrell and Yash Ghai

 - Hungary  by Andrea Mezei

 - Rwanda   by Priscilla Yachat Ankut

 - Chile  by J. Esteban Montes and Tomás Vial

 - Indonesia  by Edward Schneier

 - East Timor  by Randall Garrison

 - Bahrain   by Dr. A. A. Mohamoud

 - Comparative paper  A discussion by Dr Kirsti Samuels based on the 12 case studies above

Document type

International IDEA

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