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Building Peace and Democracy through Post-Conflict Constitutions: The General Principles Approach
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The drafting and ratification of a new constitution or major constitutional amendment is a measure frequently undertaken after internal armed conflict. In such circumstances, constitutional reform generally aims to both strengthen democracy and build peace. These two aims can, however, be contradictory: constitutional guarantees agreed between warring parties may help secure peace but undermine long-term democracy. To date, no empirical study has quantitatively examined how post-conflict constitutions can be designed to both uphold the peace and strengthen democracy. Drawing on the example of the 1996 South African constitution, I argue that one way to meet both aims is for conflict actors to agree in advance on a set of ‘general constitutional principles’, to which the constitution or major amendment must adhere. I argue that such an approach should both secure the peace by preventing spoilers, and strengthen democracy by facilitating inclusive constitution-building and encouraging conflict actor ‘buy in’ to the new constitutional order. To test this theory, I conduct a statistical analysis of all post-conflict constitutions and major constitutional amendments from 1975 to 2012. I find strong evidence that adherence to general constitutional principles leads to improved democracy, but only limited evidence that it also leads to improved peace.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 72
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-353027OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-353027DiVA, id: diva2:1215758
Educational program
Master Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-06-25 Created: 2018-06-09 Last updated: 2018-06-25Bibliographically approved

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