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Making a 21st Century Constitution

Playing Fair in Modern Democracies

Frank Vibert

Democratic constitutions are increasingly unfit for purpose with governments facing increased pressures from populists and distrust from citizens. The only way to truly solve these problems is through reform. Within this important book, Frank Vibert sets out the key challenges to reform, the ways in which constitutions should be revitalised and provides the standards against which reform should be measured.
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Chapter 2: Constitutions and democracy: the setting

Frank Vibert


This chapter sets out the reasons for the (almost) universal adoption of constitutions and the different ways of summarizing their intent in a democratic context (contracts/constraints and so on). It then discusses the separation that has occurred between discussions of constitutions and discussions of democracy. Among the reasons for this separation, subsequent discussion takes up the possibility that constitutions have simply lost their relevance in modern conditions. Finally, it distinguishes between key structural elements in a constitution – the foundational, the canonical and the purposive.

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