The Method and Madness of Authoritarian Constitution Making in Democratic Regimes

Globally, more than half the attempts at making a democratic constitution have failed to produce one. Another large number of constitutions where while a draft was made and implemented, the constitution failed and was ultimately rejected by the populace or political elites. A curious case emerges in instances when would-be-autocrats draft authoritarian constitutions in democratic regimes. They do it rather successfully. Moreover, they do so without using force, with the consent of large sections of the society, and in ostensibly democratic ways. The question that then arises is how would-be-autocrats are more successful than their democratic counterparts. Using three different case studies of authoritarian constitution-making from Hungary, Venezuela, and Turkey, this article will deep dive into the ‘method and madness’ behind the success of would-be autocrat’s constitution-making endeavors and these authoritarian constitutions’ subsequent acceptance by the populace.