Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Category: authoritarianism

  • Fatherland, Socialism or Death

    –Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez Yesterday a new article of mine came out in Foreign Policy on some of the possible contingencies  for the upcoming Venezuelan Elections. An earlier version of the piece, which the FP editors felt may be a bit too legalistic and technical for their purposes, was just the sort of thing which I suspect might be of more interest to readers here on constitutionmaking.org 

  • Keeping up with the Obiangs: Theft and Hereditary Succession in Dictatorships

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “kleptocracy” was first introduced into the English language in 1819 as a contemporary criticism of the Imperial Spanish Government. Perhaps it is fitting then that the leadership of tiny Equatorial Guinea – one of Spain’s former colonies – is doing so much to keep this particular colonial legacy alive.

  • When to Overthrow Your Government: The Right to Resist in the World’s Constitutions

    Tom Ginsburg, Mila Versteeg and myself have just posted the preliminary version our upcoming article on the Right to Rebel within the world’s written constitutions unto SSRN. The article, which is available for download here, may well be of interest to our fellow scholars, bloggers and constitutional enthusiasts. 

  • But what was the turnout in Homs?

    Syria’s Interior Ministry reported that the new constitution won the support of 89.4 percent of votes cast in Sunday’s referendum, with a turnout of 57.4 percent. The document itself, available here, features a rambling preamble (I am officially coining the term “preramble”) that touches on the tropes of Arab politics: anticolonialism, the Zionist enemy, modernization, and the glories of Arab civilization.

  • Syria Presses on with Constitutional Referendum

    Russia’s support for beleaguered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains fiercely intact despite international condemnation of its veto at the UN Security Council. Following a meeting between al-Assad and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier this week, Syria insists on dialogue and national solutions, the only remaining one being the original constitutional referendum plan issued by al-Assad last October as part of a larger package of reforms.

  • Iran: Constitutional Politics in a Dictatorship

    Last month, the University of Chicago hosted a Conference on Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes. Alas, we did not have a paper on Iran, but it seems that constitutional politics in the world’s favorite theocracy are heating up. Indeed, Iran may be exhibit A for the idea that constitutional politics involve significant stakes even in dictatorships.

  • Discipline-Flourishing Constitutionalism: An Update on Myanmar’s Quasi-Constitutionalized Politics

    When Tom Ginsburg and Zachary Elkins first released their Comparative Constitutions Project data, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma)* was one of only two countries that lacked any sort of constitutional document (the other being the U.K.). Since 1962, the country had been ruled by a military regime.

  • Tunisia and constitutional transition

    The situation in Tunisia is perhaps too fluid to speculate on, but if the current situation stabilizes, it is an interesting example of constitutional compliance under a (potentially collapsing) authoritarian regime. Article 57 of the 1959 Constitution, as amended, reads: “In case the Presidency of the Republic becomes vacant on account of death, resignation, or permanent disability, the Constitutional Council shall meet immediately and pronounce the permanent vacancy by absolute majority of its members.