The aim of involving state members in reforming federal constitutions is to guarantee them the autonomy that they have been constitutionally granted. It also prevents reform from being carried out unilaterally by the central government and means the structure of competences can be modified as necessary. In this study, we will consider how federations manage, to a greater or lesser extent, regional intervention in constitutional reform. However, we will see how recently, in Spain, the anticipated routes for territorial participation in the constitutional text have proved to be clearly insufficient, and have developed into the recent crisis in this ‘State of Autonomies’, which is now facing the breakdown of national unity.
The authors of the article continue the scientific discourse on the role and significance of bicameralism for building a modern democratic legal state. The main arguments of supporters and opponents of bicameralism have been analysed, given the complicated development of Ukrainian institutional framework and discussions over the European Committee of Regions evolution. The authors of the article attempt to supplement the list of arguments that exist in modern legal literature in favor of Ukraine’s transition to bicameralism. The challenges of European integration for Ukrainian parliament as a unitary actor have been highlighted. The authors substantiate the thesis that the formation of the second (upper) chamber does not threaten the Ukrainian unitarianism, but will contribute to further diversification of state power and at the same time increase the stability of the government in terms of a consensual, pluralistic democracy and semi-presidential government.
The Second Dimension of Democracy: The People and Their Constitution
This paper argues that procedural and substantive approaches to democracy fail to address the question of the democratic legitimacy of a constitutional regime. Taking Ronald Dworkin and Jeremy Waldron as a point of departure, the paper contends that procedural and substantive democrats approach democracy at the level of daily governance as if it exhausted the democratic ideal. As a result, they not only ignore democracy at the level of the fundamental laws but the question of democratic legitimacy altogether. After examining the under-theorized distinction between these two dimensions of the democratic ideal, the paper builds on the work of Sheldon Wolin and argues that democracy at the level of the fundamental laws should be conceived as a moment in the life of a polity, the moment in which ordinary citizens deliberate and exercise their power to (re)constitute the juridical order and legitimate their constitution. By way of conclusion, the article considers some of the mechanisms contained in new Latin American constitutions as examples of devices that might facilitate the practice of the second dimension of democracy.
In contrast to U.S. Federal Indian law, which has classified indigenous tribes as “domestic dependent nations” since the early 19th century, Mexican law has only recently begun to define the political and territorial autonomy of indigenous groups. This paper contrasts the Mexican approach to this problem to that of the United States, first describing Mexico’s 2001’s constitutional reforms and their failure to clarify the nature of tribal sovereignty. It then analyzes recent court cases that protect tribal political and territorial autonomy by applying rights to consultation contained in the International Labor Organization’s Indigenous and Tribal People’s Convention 169 (“ILO 169”) and the Mexican Constitution. It concludes by arguing that in spite of this effort by the courts, Mexican law still requires a comprehensive legislative or diplomatic resolution of the lack of clarity surrounding the political and territorial autonomy of its indigenous groups.
In regions troubled by ethnic based conflict violence often erupts abruptly and severely. Peacemakers, then, follow unconditional paths to prevent conflict escalation. The article analyzes the ways in which post-conflict constitutional designs shape the state structure through constitutional amendments. Peace agreements as bases for constitutional reform, the article claims, have reformatory but also obstructive implications. Seeing the Ohrid Framework Agreement as a case study, the paper analyzes its implications on the development of the political system in Macedonia. On one side OFA serves as a criterion for the Macedonian Euro-Atlantic integration and a driving force for the creation of a functioning multicultural society. On the other side, the procedural and substantive flaws of the agreement undermine its absorbability in the society. In procedural sense, OFA hindered its own implementation through the used terminology and the drafting process. In substantial sense, agreement’s goals and provisions reached beyond the purpose of peace agreements and underestimated the complexity of the conflicting issues at stake.
Restoring their statehood in the early 1990s, Estonia and Latvia established parliamentary republics, while Lithuania opted for semi-presidentialism. The paper is a case-oriented comparative study explaining this difference with the Lithuanian “exceptionality” in focus. Part of the answer is differences of interwar constitutional history: while Lithuania and Estonia had to cope with the legacy of three constitutions each, Latvia inherited only the parliamentary Constitution of 1922, because its dictator Karlis Ulmanis did not bother to constitutionalize his rule. Another part is differences in the balance of power during the time of extraordinary politics when constitutions were made. The alternation between the presidential and parliamentary phases of semi-presidentialism and the “perils of presidentialism” did manifest repeatedly in the Lithuanian post-communist politics, while Estonia and Latvia did know next to nothing about them, except for the “Zatlers episode” in Latvia in 2009–2011. The infamous Rolandas Paksas’ impeachment in 2003–2004 and controversial features in the performance style of the Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė are important illustrations of the shortcomings of semi-presidentialism, which could be cured by Lithuania’s switch to the Baltic pattern of parliamentary presidency. However, as time goes on, the probability of a constitutional reform decreases in all Baltic States, mainly due to increasing acquis constitutionnel and habituation.
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