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Constitution-making and Transition to Democracy in Fiji

Kant, Romitesh (2014) Constitution-making and Transition to Democracy in Fiji. [Conference Proceedings] (Unpublished)

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Constitution-making over the years has developed into an important element of transition from authoritarian regime to democracy where the intended outcome of the new constitutional order is democracy. An effective transition to democracy involves “a new social contract between and within the governed and the governors”. Constitution making in transitioning societies is complex and multi-dimensional which involves several processes with various actors consulting with each other to reach a settlement on the nature of the constitution. The measures adopted in reaching agreements vary - while some countries choose to modify the existing constitution others repeal the existing one thereby setting in motion a process for drafting a new one. This renewed interest in the processes of democratization has led to more emphasis being placed on the importance of citizen participation in the drawing up and implementation of constitutions. This form of constitution making is referred to as democratic or participatory constitution making. In ethnically diverse societies, constitutions are seen to play an important role. They offer a clear basis for the development of common relationships between different communities and also illustrate the views and attitudes of the dominant communities with regard to other communities. Therefore the processes involved in constitution making have become an important measure of the success or failure of democratization efforts in ethnically diverse societies. According to Angela Banks (A. Banks 2007, 138), participatory constitution-making is premised on the idea that democratic constitutions should be created and adopted through democratic processes. This paper will critically analyze the constitution–making process that started in 2012. In particular, the paper will critically scrutinize public participation in the process and locate the 2012-13 constitution-making process in Fiji within the broader debates surrounding constitution making in ethnically diverse societies with the intention of assessing the democratic credentials of the new 2013 Constitution unilaterally drafted, endorsed and promulgated by the regime in September 2013.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: transition to democracy, democratization, constitution making, constitution, Fiji, Fiji politics
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Government, Development and International Affairs
Depositing User: Romitesh Kant
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2015 22:19
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2016 04:09

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