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Lessons Learned from Constitution-making: Processes with Broad Based Public Participation

Democracy Reporting International 20714Lessons Learned from Constitution-making: Processes with Broad Based Public Participation
Publié le 01-11-2012. Ajoutée le 25 août 2016

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The élection of the Constituent Assembly in Tunisia is a milestone on the path towards a stable, peaceful and democratic future.  Now one of the most important challenges is to ensure that the people of Tunisia can adequately participate in the constitution-making process. The democratic revolution that unified Tunisians should not be translated into a technocratic process with little public involvement and understanding.

Although there are various approaches to participatory constitution-making, past decades have seen a clear trend towards broad public participation in constitutional reform all over the world. Such public participation entails the direct involvement of citizens in constitution-making, giving them a chance to influence decision-makers and the outcome of the process.

This trend is supported by international law, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR establishes minimum obligations for participation in public affairs that are also applicable to constitution making processes and give citizens an individual right to participate in constitution-making. While this right may be subject to conditions, namely whether citizens participate directly or through representatives, it must not be restricted in unreasonable or discriminatory ways.

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