The Constrained Convention: Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès and the Making of Chile's New Constitution
29 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2020 Last revised: 7 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 21, 2020
Taking the current Chilean constitution-making process as its starting point, this article challenges the common notion that constituent assemblies cannot be constrained because they exercise constituent power. I draw on Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès’s dominant account of constituent power to show that two constraints can be derived from it that constituent assemblies must respect: their mandate from the people and the requirements of the common interest. To demonstrate the practical relevance of this approach, I apply it to the Chilean context and discuss how and to what extent it can shed light on the justifiability of some of the constraints that will be imposed on the Chilean constituent assembly.
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