Andreas Mehler

Consociationalism for Weaklings, Autocracy for Muscle Men? Determinants of Constitutional Reform in Divided Societies

Civil Wars, 15, 2013, 21-43

Why have some countries adopted consociational constitutions after civil wars, while others have not? This contribution analyses the advent of constitutional provisions and their rationale in the five deeply divided societies that adopted the most ‘radical’ constitutional reforms in 2001–10 (Burundi, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nepal and Sudan). In places where norm-diffusing external actors played a major role in ending an intra-state war, constitutional change was particularly profound. It appears that strong outside mediators have followed a blueprint approach to constitutional engineering in post-war societies with power sharing as a guiding principle, more often than not of the consociational type. There is reason to believe that the strong outside involvement in turn depends on a relative weak bargaining position of sitting governments.