4 Apr 2017

National Dialogues and Constitution Making

National Dialogue Handbook: Conceptual Studies

National Dialogues and constitution-making processes are increasingly part of political settlements. This paper focuses on the relationship between dialogues and constitution-making processes but also explores the relationship between dialogues and state institutions (such as the legislature, executive and judiciary) and state processes (elections). Both National Dialogues and constitution-making processes occur in a wide variety of circumstances and take many different forms so it is hard to generalize about their form and roles. However, although Dialogues often engage in constitutional issues, they generally do not produce final constitutions. The paper suggests that aspects of most constitution-making processes, such as a level procedural formality, greater technical expertise and, sometimes, greater formal legitimacy, explain why they and not dialogues are used for constitution-making. It also explores ways in which dialogue decisions may be followed up in a constitution-making process or by state institutions. It concludes with lessons for National Dialogues from constitution-making processes.

Christina Murray


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