Authoritarian Constitutionalism
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Authoritarian Constitutionalism

Comparative Analysis and Critique

Edited by Helena Alviar García and Günter Frankenberg

The contributions to this book analyse and submit to critique authoritarian constitutionalism as an important phenomenon in its own right, not merely as a deviant of liberal constitutionalism. Accordingly, the fourteen studies cover a variety of authoritarian regimes from Hungary to Apartheid South Africa, from China to Venezuela; from Syria to Argentina, and discuss the renaissance of authoritarian agendas and movements, such as populism, Trumpism, nationalism and xenophobia. From different theoretical perspectives the authors elucidate how authoritarian power is constituted, exercised and transferred in the different configurations of popular participation, economic imperatives, and imaginary community.
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Chapter 5: Authoritarian constitutionalism in the Islamic world: theoretical considerations and comparative observations on Syria and Turkey

Omar El Manfalouty


This article initially explores the nature and interplay of power, authority and constitutionalism, before applying this theoretical framework to the cases of Syria’s constitutional referendum of 2012 and the Turkish constitutional referendum of 2017. Comparison of the two cases reveals sharply contrasting strategies of the actors involved: the case of Turkey exemplifies a conscious choice to transform transient political power into deeply rooted authority by essentially reshaping the foundation of the republic; Syria, on the other hand, presents itself as a borderline case of authoritarian constitutionalism since authority within the body politic is deliberately sacrificed through a thorough reliance on pure violence and foreign support in order to impose rule rather than to govern. Apart from these differences, shared challenges to constitutional authority will also be demonstrated and – drawing on the first, analytical section of the contribution – possible remedies pointed out.

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