The 'Method and Madness' of Authoritarian Constitution Making in Democratic Regimes

2021, Nuovi Autoritarismi e Democrazie: Diritto, Istituzioni, Società, Vol 3, No 2, 1-19

19 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2021 Last revised: 13 Jun 2022

Date Written: October 14, 2021

Abstract

Globally, more than half the attempts at making a democratic constitution have failed to produce one. Another large number of constitutions have suffered the ignominy of having a draft made and implemented, but ultimately being rejected by the populace or political elites for failing to perform its intended functions. A curious case emerges in instances when would-be-autocrats draft authoritarian constitutions in democratic regimes. They do it rather successfully. Moreover, they do so without using force, with the consent of large sections of the society, and in ostensibly democratic ways. The question that then arises is how would-be-autocrats are more successful than their democratic counterparts in such ventures. Using three varied examples of authoritarian constitution-making from Hungary, Venezuela, and Turkey, this article will examine the ‘method and madness’ behind the success of would-be autocrat’s constitution-making endeavors and these authoritarian constitutions’ acceptance by the populace.

Keywords: Constitution Making, Constitutional Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, Hungary, Turkey, Venezuela, Democratic Backsliding, Authoritarianism, Political Parties

Suggested Citation

Sethi, Amal, The 'Method and Madness' of Authoritarian Constitution Making in Democratic Regimes (October 14, 2021). 2021, Nuovi Autoritarismi e Democrazie: Diritto, Istituzioni, Società, Vol 3, No 2, 1-19, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3942280 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3942280

Amal Sethi (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg ( email )

Rothenbaumchaussee 33
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

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