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Hot Topics Panel: Revolution and Constitution

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Published on Mar 13, 2012

The most important hot topic is, without doubt, the mass of revolutions in Islamic countries -- Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, Bahrain. Importantly for us, these revolutions all have a specific legal aspect to them (and it is not the somewhat overanalyzed issue of the relation between Islam and state law): all these revolutions reveal edgy constitutional issues. Revolutions are (by definition) not foreseen in constitutions (communist examples not excluded); revolutionary movements must decide, at some point, whether to use the avenues provided by the Constitution for a regime shift, or to establish (quickly) new mechanisms. But revolution and constitution is a broader topic. It encompasses the stealth revolution in Hungary, where the governing party is using the existing Constitution for a power grab (and for a change in the Constitution). It encompasses the peaceful South African Revolution, which established a Constitution as symbol of the new nation (like the United States before). It encompasses, arguably, even the rise of people's movements (short of a revolution) in Germany, in opposition to a new train station, which have arguably led to a change in the system of representative democracy. Country experts and constitutional experts will discuss these questions in a new format for the Society's annual meeting: a hot topics forum.

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