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 9: French authoritarian constitutionalism and its legacy

Eugénie Mérieau


This chapter links monarchic constitutionalism to Bonapartism and Gaullism as forming part of a French tradition of ‘authoritarian constitutionalism’. It argues that the first Bonapartism (1799-1814) laid the foundation for monarchic constitutionalism (1814-48), which in turn did the same for the second Bonapartism (1848-70) and for Gaullism (1958–69). It focuses on ‘constitutional moments’ and the question of constituent power, examining the initial ‘constitutional octroy’ following a coup, and, in the cases of Bonapartism and Gaullism, the use of plebiscite to legalize what could anachronistically be called today ‘unconstitutional’ constitutional revisions. The chapter is divided into three parts: first, monarchic constitutionalism, embodied in the 1814 and 1830 Constitutional Charters; second, Bonapartism, represented by the Constitution of Year VIII (1799) and the 1852 Constitution of the Second Empire, together with their amendments; and finally, Gaullism as a specific understanding of the Constitution of the Fifth Republic.

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