Dealing with Territorial Cleavages in Constitutional Transitions

This project concerns the issues arising from territorially concentrated, politically salient, collective demands for constitutional accommodation in contexts of constitutional transition. It examines the experiences of a significant number of countries that have had to deal with pressures for territorial autonomy as part of attempted or successful constitutional transitions (and sometimes a broader set of issues simultaneously). “Constitutional transitions” in this project concern two distinctive but related types of processes: a) constitutional transitions from authoritarian to democratic rule, often post-conflict, but also in environments of on-going or potential conflict; and b) constitutional transitions (actual or potential) within functioning electoral democracies in response to claims for territorial autonomy (and where political violence possibly is or has been a central issue). The project will devote particular attention to those aspects of constitutional processes that relate to the territorial dimension of constitutional transition and design (including principles, participation, interim arrangements, legality and decision-making forums, ratification, the involvement of international actors, and sequencing). Its case studies will include “successes” as well as blocked or failed processes.

Partners: The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA); The Forum of Federations; United Nations Department of Political Affairs, Policy and Mediation Division (UNDPA); The Manuel Giménez Abad Foundation (Abad Foundation). 

Steering Committee: George Anderson (Constitutional Transitions), Sumit Bisarya (International IDEA), Rupak Chattopadhyay (Forum of Federations), Sujit Choudhry (Constitutional Transitions), Jason Gluck (UNDPA), Mario Kölling (Abad Foundation), Asanga Welikala (University of Edinburgh).

Experts: 25 experts from 13 countries.

Outputs: policy manual and issue paper, aimed at an audience of advisors and practitioners working in the field; edited volume combining case studies, thematic papers and a broad  overview; and online working papers available freely online.

Status: In progress; authors’ meeting to be held in Zaragoza, Spain in March 2014. Projected completion and Launch Conference scheduled for Winter 2014/5.