Constitution-Making in Islamic Countries – A Theoretical Framework
Constitution-Making in Islamic Countries: Between Upheaval and Continuity, ed. by Rainer Grote and Tilmann Röder (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)
43 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2013
Date Written: July 13, 2010
How to stabilize ailing, failing or disintegrating states is an inherently difficult question. It is also one which is increasingly dominating international agendas. As both the number and intensity of internal conflicts has dramatically risen in the last decades, growing interconnectedness has made it ever more difficult to cordon off instability and lawlessness seeping from failing states.
Consequently, the international community has increasingly become engaged in the post-conflict reconstruction of states. Given the global normative consensus around the democratic principle, virtually all international efforts have stressed the importance of elections as a means of establishing legitimate governance. But elections rarely ensure the necessary stabilization of a fractioned society. In fact, elections can easily contribute to further polarization if they are held in an environment of intense competition over power and resources, and amidst an immature institutional framework. The reason elections have become the instrument of choice of many international efforts is the relative ease with which they can be implemented, as well as the high normative premium attached to the idea of popular sovereignty.
This paper explores the different theoretical models that underlie constitution-making, highlighting the conceptional differences often masked by the dominant focus on elections.
Keywords: Islamic law, constitutionalism, post-conflict state-building, Muslim state, Muslim society
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