Washington International Law Journal


Venkat Iyer


The dilemmas confronting societies which move from a period of authoritarian rule to liberal democracy have increasingly engaged the attention of academic experts and policy-makers alike. One issue which has received comparatively less notice, however, is the phenomenon of “restoration constitutionalism,” i.e. the process by which the transitional society is sought to be returned to the constitutional order that predated the authoritarian rule. Recent events in Fiji offer a good example of how this process works in practice. This article looks at the relationship between constitutionalism and transitional regimes, and argues that, where the “rupture” in a constitutional order is relatively short-lived, restoration constitutionalism provides a smoother and quicker return to liberal politics than any other modality of transition.

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