Constitution-Building in Political Settlement Processes: The Quest for Inclusion, Discussion Report

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Policy points:
• A balance between allowing time to build consensus and using deadlines to keep the process on track needs to be found.
• The constitution includes mechanisms for holding political elites accountable and strengthens the case for the inclusion of the public. Yet, there is a tension between broad public involvement and achieving political compromises.
• Local and international actors need to work together and increase mutual understanding.
• The nature of conflict changes throughout the constitution-making processes.

Abstract: This report concludes the discussions by expert academic and practitioner panels hosted by International IDEA in Edinburgh, December 2015. Academic and policy literatures on conflict resolution and constitution-building often address peace agreements and constitution-building as separate issues and processes. The report concludes that peace agreements and constitutions are in practice connected, but not in a linear or symmetrical manner. Peace agreements often come before constitutions in the overall political settlement process, and sometimes constrain or determine the options for constitutional design; the constitution then becomes an additional instrument that enables sustainable peace. Given this link, such documents in the broader political settlement often merge process into ‘constitutional peace agreements’ or ‘peace agreement constitutions’. Nonetheless, the commitment to a revised political settlement may be weak or non-existent. In such cases, these documents bear the heavy burden of attempting to forge new settlements capable of delivering peace.

Keywords: Concepts; Peace Agreements; Sequencing

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