Decentralization as Self-Determination?: Exploring confederalism in the MENA region

The Arab uprisings of 2011 gave way to counter-revolution, authoritarian retrenchment or even state failure. Yet this bleak prognosis is insufficiently attentive to communities on the ground that continue to pursue forms of self-government and undertake local experiments in imagining alternative futures. In this paper, we explore innovative approaches to self-determination obscured when we focus exclusively on developments driven by the centralized and authoritarian nation-states of the MENA region. These local projects deserve attention because they complicate our understanding of the contemporary politics of the region and represent bottom-up experiences with (and conceptions of) democratic practice. In particular, we examine and compare recent experiments with confederal models of governance among the Kurdish communities of Turkey and Syria, based on the idea of “democratic confederalism”, and grassroots efforts in Israel-Palestine to imagine a binational confederal future.

Seeds of Degradation? The Impact of Imposed Constitutional Design and International Presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Processes of constitutional degradation, in various forms, are currently at the center of heated debates in the political and academic spheres around the world. More often than not, the objects of analysis are Western democracies experiencing the well-known democratic backsliding. However, this tendency disregards other constitutional systems, which are equally experiencing some forms of degradation. The purpose of this article is to fill this gap, shedding some light on the process of constitutional degradation in a particular system, namely Bosnia-Herzegovina. Indeed, Bosnia has been trapped in a political and constitutional deadlock over the last two decades, under the pressure of endogenous and exogenous forces. More specifically, the article aims to assess the impact that the consociational model of constitutional design imposed by the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement and the unique international presence within the system had on the ongoing process of constitutional degradation.

Constitutional Moments in Autocratic States

The ‘constitutional moment’ presently defined is a revolutionary event characterised by intense constitutional participation by the government and the people that evokes a remarkable change in law, with or without amendment to the founding document’s text. The theory by nature assumes a democratic state as the foundational setting within which these constitutional moments occur. Subsequent scholarship affirms this understanding or rejects outright the idea that such a moment could occur in an autocratic state. However, as this work will argue, these ‘moments’ can exist in autocracies as well, albeit with a different appearance. The present definition neglects popular protests within autocracies that call for the implementation of the rule of law and human rights, which have become more active in the present era of democratic backsliding and autocratic growth. Utilising a comparative framework, this work will contribute new insight to understanding constitutional law in autocracies.

Constitution-making in Hungary under the radar of the Venice Commission

Although constitution-making itself is to be considered a sovereign act, the content of a constitution does not exist in a legal vacuum but under a complex network of international and/or regional standards. Accordingly, the Venice Commission has intensively followed the constitution-making process in Hungary in 2011 and it has issued opinions not only on the new constitution, the Fundamental Law, but also on its amendments i.e. the Commission has produced several reports discussing various topics of the new constitution. The aim of this presentation is to evaluate the success of the Venice Commission in addressing and curing the problematic topics of the new Hungarian constitution.