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Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development | Research | Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies

Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies

Research Group of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL)

In the twenty years since the end of the last ‘wave of democratization’ it has become clear that, along with traditional liberal-constitutional democracies, an important number of countries have embraced different forms of ‘illiberal’ democracy, that is, they are regimes in which there are competitive elections of political authorities but that concentrate power around the executive office, to the point that even the courts are under the control of the government.

Even though in the past there have been many authoritarian, semi authoritarian and even totalitarian regimes which pretended to cloak their true nature under a constitution, recent examples have showed a current of thought which tries to present these regimes as a new and more efficient type of constitutionalism, putting into question long established notions of constitutional government.

This development has examples in different areas of the world, thus becoming a subject of study with great interest for scholars globally, in line with the international nature of the IACL. However, the research group will not be limited to the study of current examples of this type of ‘constitutionalism’, but may also include the analysis of past examples, in order to explore similarities, identify possible patterns of authoritarian ‘constitutionalism’ and draw lessons which may help to better understand this phenomenon. The examination will not focus only on specific examples of this current, but will also undertake to single out common features among those different examples.

The events that have been held so far are the following:



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