T his 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). The political context of such challenges will vary by country and within countries, and over time. For example, when an old authoritarian regime has been defeated, there may be clear victors, who can manage the process of transition, or there may be an unresolved competition for power amongst different factions. The old regime may be weakened but still in office; the state may be functioning relatively normally or have “failed”; the army may be united and loyal or neither. Questions of national security, elite views on national identity and nation-building, and the structure of competition among political factions will profoundly shape the response to claims for autonomy. The international community (regional or great powers) may be actively engaged in trying to aid or influence the transition in both kinds of cases. The dynamics of each country’s process will be shaped by such factors, and will shift as alliances and positions evolve and as various tests of political or military strength (through elections and referendums or armed conflict) alter the balance of power. All of this could be true in a country challenged by deep class, religious or ethnic cleavages that does not have a significant territorial dimension, but they can be even more complex when there are demands to restructure the state to empower regionally concentrated minorities.

Partners: The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the Forum of Federations

Experts: 24 experts from 13 countries.

Outputs: Policy Manual and Issue Paper; 16 case-studies & 3 thematic papers; an edited volume to be published by Oxford University Press.