chapter  5
14 Pages

Constitutional design for divided societies (2004)

Over the past half-century, democratic constitutional design has undergone

a sea change. After the Second World War, newly independent countries

tended simply to copy the basic constitutional rules of their former colonial

masters, without seriously considering alternatives. Today, constitution wri-

ters choose more deliberately among a wide array of constitutional models,

with various advantages and disadvantages. While at first glance this

appears to be a beneficial development, it has actually been a mixed bles-

sing: Since they now have to deal with more alternatives than they can readily handle, constitution writers risk making ill advised decisions. In my

opinion, scholarly experts can be more helpful to constitution writers by

formulating specific recommendations and guidelines than by overwhelming

those who must make the decision with a barrage of possibilities and

options.