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Blurry Lines: The African Union's Imbalanced Regime of Constitutionalism and Its Consequences

24 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017 Last revised: 30 Oct 2017

Philip Roessler

College of William and Mary - Department of Government

Layla Abi-Falah

William & Mary Law School

Date Written: October 21, 2017

Abstract

Since its founding in 2002, the African Union has invested in building a regime of constitutionalism that outlaws politics by force and strengthens democracy. The regime, however, has been selectively enforced. The AU regularly invokes it to police military coups, but has never sanctioned incumbents for carrying out constitutional coups — despite rules prohibiting such transgressions. We account for this imbalance and its consequences for democracy and accountability in Africa. Incumbent instrumentalization of the regime is a key cause of lax enforcement but we argue it is compounded by the absence of bright-line rules against constitutional coups.

Keywords: Africa, African Union, democracy, constitutionalism, coups, term limits, personal rule

Suggested Citation

Roessler, Philip and Abi-Falah, Layla, Blurry Lines: The African Union's Imbalanced Regime of Constitutionalism and Its Consequences (October 21, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3056703

Philip Roessler (Contact Author)

College of William and Mary - Department of Government ( email )

Government Dept, College of William & Mary
Post Office Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23186
United States

Layla Abi-Falah

William & Mary Law School ( email )

South Henry Street
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States

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