A Shield of Glass: Explaining Egypt’s 2019 Constitutional Amendments

In 2019, the expected constitutional amendments of Egypt’s 2014 constitution were passed under a questioned public referendum and debatable legitimacy of its content. My remarks address two questions: First, why did El Sisi’s regime need constitutional amendments to consolidate its powers, despite the absence of sound opposition, and its repetitive breach of other constitutional principles with no consequences? Second, why did not the entrenchment clause protect Egypt against backsliding towards the eternal presidency? I argue that the answer to these questions lays in the constitutional politics theories more than it relates to constitutional design deficiencies, as other scholars may argue.

The Constitutionality of the New Russian Constitutional Amendments

In authoritarian states, the constitution is, as a rule, recalled once it is necessary to find ways to justify the wishes of the President of the state to stay in power or exert influence over it without limit in time. The current process of amendments to the 1993 Constitution of Russia is conspicuous by its speed and raises important constitutional law issues. From its very outset in January 2020, the process of introducing constitutional changes at an unprecedented pace in Russia has denied all that can be called the ABCs of constitutional amendments, namely publicity, transparency, and expertise. This paper offers a detailed analysis of the 2020 constitutional amendments in Russia.

The Political Economy of Cuba’s Participatory Constitutional Change

This paper situates Cuba, a socialist state, within the emerging scholarship on comparative constitutional change. It seeks to understand the forms, roles, and consequences of the participation of both domestic and overseas Cubans in the making of the new 2019 Constitution in this non-liberal state. The paper identifies three forms of participation in Cuba’s constitutional change: popular mobilization, consultation, and referendum. It argues that Cuba’s participatory constitutional change is the function of political economy: participation generates significant changes to the final Constitution due to both bottom-up pressures and top-down concerns to reform the socialist political and economic system.

Peace, or the Will of the Majority? The Judicial Review of Constitutional Reforms Throughout the Colombian Peace Process

Towards which attitude should the courts responsible for reviewing the constitutional reforms approved within a peace process lean? Which role should these courts play when peace and the will of the majority become opposing ideals? Should a rejection by the majority of citizens in a referendum be enough to halt the peace process of a nation? The Colombian Constitutional Court had to answer these questions recently when, after a referendum in which Colombians voted No to the peace agreements negotiated with the FARC-EP, they were required to evaluate the validity of the constitutional reforms approved thus far through this process. This case offers an interesting panorama to reflect on judicial review of constitutional reforms.

Constitutional Amendment in Dominant Party States: Amending for Autochthony in Singapore

This paper engages the question of why governments in dominant party states employ formal amendment procedures to bring about constitutional changes. It examines the constitutional amendment practice of Singapore, a dominant party state, arguing that amendments are often perceived as legitimate because they purportedly re-indigenize and reclaim the countries’ constitutions from their colonial roots, and are thus characterized as ‘tailored’ to local conditions. It is this juxtaposition of an autochthonous constitution, as opposed to a colonial one, that provides the key to understanding how amendments to the constitution are both seen as legitimate and legitimating of the government.

On Patterns of Constitutional Amendments: Democratic and Autocratic Transitions of Turkey After 1987

The modern Turkish Constitution of 1982 has been amended extensively. The amendments were provided 15 times through the legislative majority and 4 times by national referendum in the last 38 years. This paper will discuss the constitutional politics surrounding the constitutional amendments in Turkey since 1987. The paper will compare and contrast the democratic transition and autocratic transition patterns from the perspectives of exclusion-inclusion dichotomy, elite convergence, democratic legitimacy, and normative constitutionalism.