In emerging and transitioning democracies, a new constitution is often approved by referendum. In a constitutional interregnum, where the previous constitutional system has been abrogated and there are no mechanisms of political expression in place, approval at referendum appears necessary for a new constitution to make a claim to the authority of popular sovereignty. At the same time, the new constitution’s approval at referendum appears sufficient for that claim. This paper challenges both of these views, arguing that a referendum is neither necessary nor sufficient for a constitution’s claim to the authority of popular sovereignty. By drawing a distinction between constituent power and popular sovereignty in the first place, and between popular sovereignty and sociological legitimacy in the second place, the paper argues that the claim to popular sovereignty brings with it a substantive commitment to every individual’s moral autonomy and political equality.
Our 2020 Annual Conference was scheduled to be held at the University of Wrocław in Poland on July 9-11, 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our next Annual Conference will take place from July 8-10, 2021. The conference, "ICON•S Mundo", will be held online. Details regarding the organization of the 2021 Conference will follow soon.Join ICON•S