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(S)electing Constitution-Making Bodies in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings

Constitution-building processes are increasingly seen as critical elements within both peacebuilding and state-building processes.

A constitution-building process in a conflict-affected setting is often necessary to renegotiate access to public power and resources. The resulting constitution will ideally make the state more inclusive and, therefore, responsive to a higher number of social, political and/or economic groups, thereby contributing to sustaining peace and preventing the resumption of conflict. 

Who makes the constitution? How are they selected? These are crucial questions in the constitution-building process, which serve to determine the overall legitimacy of the process, and the content and success of the new political framework itself. 

This Policy Paper examines the types of constitution-making bodies (CMBs) present in 37 constitution-building processes that took place from 1991 to 2018 in the aftermath of conflict, and ways in which they were selected. Additionally, the paper focuses on the frequency of specific types of CMB in conflict-affected settings, and on whether the broader constitution-building process and its specific design has an impact on the type of CMB chosen.

Document type

International IDEA

Creative Commons License