Constitution-Making in Romania: From Reiterative Crises to Constitutional Moment?
Appeared in: special issue on ‘Constitutional Amendment in Romania: Analyses and Perspectives’, Romanian Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 3, issue 2, pp. 187-204, 2013.
16 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2013
Date Written: July 5, 2013
Romanian constitution-making since 1989 has been of an uneven and recently evermore conflictive kind. In the 1990s, no significant changes to the 1991 Constitution were made, and the role of the Romanian Constitution could be said to be less visible in politics. Since the mid-2000s, in contrast, and after the 2003 amendment mostly triggered for reasons of EU accession, the Constitution has become a clear object of political salience and contention. Constitutional conflict is particularly outspoken since the presidential crisis of 2007, and has become outspoken again in the summer of 2012. This has triggered the 2013 attempt to revise the Constitution. Key problems in Romania remain a weakly diffused constitutional culture among both politicians and the wider public, a Constitutional Court that seems unable to play the role of guardian and constitutional educator, and the relative absence of a meaningful constitutional debate in the wider public sphere. The constitutional frame seems to fail in inducing in both political and civil society a civic and political orientation towards constitutional values and a robust public debate on the foundations of Romanian democracy. The 2013 turn to constitutional revision, might however include a turn into the right direction and constitute a 'constitutional moment'. The paper starts with a discussion of constitution-making since 1989. Second, I will briefly analyze the role of the Romanian Constitutional Court in the democratization process, and, third, discuss the recent crisis that directly involved the Court. Fourth, I will look into the current revision process and 'constitutional moment', and fifth, I will discuss the potentially reinvigorating effects of civic engagement in constitutional change.
Keywords: Constitution-making, Constitutional moments, Forum Constitutional, Legal resentment, Romanian Constitutional Court
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