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Preventing Dictatorship: Constitutional Safeguards Against Antidemocratic Consolidations of Power

Democracy Reporting International 20714Preventing Dictatorship: Constitutional Safeguards Against Antidemocratic Consolidations of Power
Publié le 29-07-2012. Ajoutée le 7 novembre 2016

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Emergent democracies are at an especially acute risk of dteriorating into authoritarian governance usually through the concentration of power in the executive.Constitutional safeguards can help prevent such antidemocratic concentration of power.

Safeguards used in constitutions around the world include, among others:

Limits on executive authority

  • Presidential term limits.
  • Clear and restrictive provisions for declaring a state ofemergency.

Clear guidelines for constitutional amendment

  • Entrenched or unamendable constitutional provisions or principles;
  • Legislative supermajorities to approve constitutional amendments;
  • Clear and detailed provisions for constitutional

Accountability and other mechanisms

  • Guarantees for transparent, independently managed elections;
  • Constitutional judicial review;
  • Legislative budget oversight;
  • Limits on antidemocratic forces

Given the histories of antidemocratic concentration of power in the Arab world, constitution makers in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt should consider implementing these safeguards. Although constitutional safeguards alone cannot prevent dictatorship, they make the concentration of power more difficult.


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