a network of constitutionalists from countries throughout the world
Over the coming days, we are featuring each of the 20 workshops in the 10th IACL World Congress 2018 on “VIOLENT CONFLICTS, PEACE-BUILDING AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAW”, being held in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 18-22 June 2018. Full details are on the congress website, in English and French, along with information on how to submit a paper. Papers may be in either French or English. Please circulate to colleagues interested in the subject.
Representative democracy has constituted for a long time a model. From this paramount, it became a system which essentially brought social cohesion, peace and the development of human rights.
Based at the same time in a specific concept of the functioning of political institutions and a system of values embodied in human rights, it has been presented as a universal model. From this point of view democracy has been largely identified with the notion of “good government” and with the concept of the rule of law.
This concept of rule of law aims to bring into existence a political system which rests on three principles: a legitimizing principle which is democracy strictly speaking, a form of government which is liberalism, and a value system embodied essentially by fundamental rights.
Although these conditions usually converge, contradictions may arise, for example, when the power to control (specifically, the courts) prevails over the power to decide (the political power). Also, protection of fundamental rights can conflict with popular will. These contradictions partially show the crisis faced by the system of liberal democracy.
Authoritarian regimes, in order to weaken the strength of opposing forces and the absolute superiority of individual rights, but using the argument of democratic legitimization, exist in numerous regions of the world and develop even in countries with established liberal democracies.
The question is whether this constitutional dressing is only the mask and the instrument of legitimization of an authoritarian power and if it can establish a new constitutional current. In any event, this phenomenon has a deep impact in contemporary constitutional systems.
The object of this workshop is to analyze the reasons, the conditions and the effects of a possible dissociation between democracy and liberalism, to examine the possibility or the reality of illiberal national constitutional systems and thus research their influence on the development of constitutional law.
Independently of the future of such a concept and its possible realization, the claim by certain governments of a counter model of democracy may lead to a revision of what constitutes the core of the democratic principle.