The ideas of the rule of law and constitutionalism have become an intrinsic part of any process of democratisation around the world. This was equally the case in the radical changes that occurred in East-Central Europe (ECE) around the year of 1989. The adherence in the region to a form of “new constitutionalism” has been frequently seen as an indispensable contribution to the processes of democratisation. However, in this too little attention has been paid to the dilemmas, tensions and perverse effects that may emerge in the institutionalisation and practice of new constitutionalism, not least in terms of an enduring tension between constitutionalism as an ordering and stabilising device and democracy as an uncertain and indeterminate process of verification of public views on the common good. The experiences in ECE since 1989 with regard to new constitutionalism are ambiguous. It is undeniable that an emphasis on a higher law with entrenched rights and robust constitutional review has involved important “corrections” of certain outgrowths of democratic politics and in this prevented forms of “tyranny of the majority” or the endangering of the guarantee of universal rights. But it is equally true that new constitutionalism has been adopted at a price, not least with regard to the emergence of more widespread, publicly shared constitutional cultures as well as in terms of underexplored potentials of democratic constitutionalism and endorsement of civic engagement in the region. Democratic dilemmas and perverse effects have emerged in terms of domestic tensions, in particular regarding democratic debilitation, but also stem from tensions with legal orders beyond the national arena.
Arjomandsupra note 6; A. Stone Sweet ‘Constitutions and Judicial Power’ in D. Caramani (ed.) Comparative Politics (Oxford University Press 2008) pp. 217–239; A. Stone Sweet ‘Constitutionalism Legal Pluralism and International Regimes’ 16:2 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies (2009) pp. 621–645.
Stone Sweet 2008supra note 34 p. 219.
Kurczewski and Sullivansupra note 14 pp. 254–255.
Sadurskisupra note 32 p. 5.
A Mungiu-Pippidi‘Interview with President of the Romanian Constitutional Court, Ion Muraru’East European Constitutional Review(winter 1997) pp. 78–83 at p. 79.
Sadurskisupra note 32 p. 135. The reasoning of the Tribunal was as follows: “The binding Polish constitutional regulations do not contain any provision that would directly address the protection of life. Nevertheless it does not mean that human life is not a value protected under the Constitution. The fundamental provision from which the constitutional protection of human life should be inferred is article 1 of the constitutional provisions that have been upheld and in particular the democratic rule of law. Such a state can only exist as a commonwealth of people and only people can be recognized as the actual carriers of rights and obligations laid down by the State concerned. Life is the fundamental attribute of a human being. When that life is taken away a human being is at the same time annihilated as the holder of rights and obligations. If the essence of a rule of law is a set of fundamental directives inferred from the sense of law proclaimed through democratic procedures providing for the minimum level of fairness thereof therefore the first such directive must be the rule of law is respect for the value i.e. human life from its outset as its absence excludes the recognition of a person before the law. The supreme value of a state under the democratic rule of law shall be a human being and his/her interests of the utmost value: Life is such an interest and in a state under the democratic rule of law it must be covered by constitutional protection at every stage of development” (K. 26/96).
Sadurskisupra note 32 p. 135 emphasis added.
Webersupra note 25 p. 291.
Sadurskisupra note 84 p. 113.
Iancusupra note 88 p. 187.
Sadurskisupra note 84 pp. 115–116.
Puchalskasupra note 28 p. 123.
Sajosupra note 50 p. 5.
See Aratosupra note 22; Tully supra note 95.
Aratosupra note 22 pp. 196–197; cf. P. Blokker ‘Democracy Through the Lens of 1989: Liberal Triumph or Radical Turn?’ 22:3 International Journal of Politics Society and Culture (2009) pp. 273–290.
Aratosupra note 22 pp. 195–196.
Blokkersupra note 37 ch. 7.
Blokkersupra note 101.
Sajosupra note 107.
The current2012Constitution states in Article B(4): “The people exercise their power through their elected representatives and directly in exceptional cases.” Article 8(3a) on National Referendum states explicitly: “No national referendum may be held on … the amendment of the Constitution.”
Peterssupra note 122 p. 580.
Teubnersupra note 117 p. 5.
Puchalskasupra note 28 p. 113; cf. D. Malova an B. Dolny ‘The Eastern Enlargement of the European Union: Challenges to Democracy?’ 18:2 Human Affairs (2008) pp. 67–80.