Search result: 2 articles

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Year 2017 x
Article

Access_open Belgium and Democratic Constitution-Making: Prospects for the Future?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2017
Keywords constitutional change, democracy, participation, Belgium
Authors Ronald Van Crombrugge
Abstract

    How constitutions are changed – and more importantly: how they should be changed – is the subject of ongoing debate. There seems to be a growing consensus, however, that in order for a constitution to be considered legitimate it is required that it was created through a democratic process. This growing consensus stands in sharp contrast with the Belgian experience of constitutional change as an essentially elite-led process that takes place behind closed doors. This article seeks to explore the possibilities for more democratic forms of constitutional change in Belgium. It does so by evaluating and comparing two examples of democratic constitution-making, namely the constitution-making processes In South Africa (1996) and Iceland (2012). On the basis of these two examples, several concrete suggestions will be made, which are not only relevant for the Belgian case but can be applied more broadly to other countries as well.


Ronald Van Crombrugge

    In recent years, there has been a strong diffusion of the concept of the G1000 in the Low countries. Yet, empirical research that concerns the democratic value of these mini-publics is sparse. This raises the question as to how democratic the G1000 initiatives in Belgium and the Netherlands are. To answer this question, we compare the Belgian and the Dutch G1000’s and assess these against a set of deliberative democratic criteria. We conclude that the G1000’s to a large extent meet the process criteria of deliberation. At the same time, the connection with the formal decision-making process appears to be weak. Another lesson to be drawn is that deliberative democratic criteria often seem to conflict with each other, which points to continuing tensions within the ideal of deliberative democracy.


Ank Michels
Ank Michels is politicoloog en als universitair docent verbonden aan het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht. In haar onderzoek houdt zij zich bezig met nieuwe vormen van besturen en democratie, burgerparticipatie en deliberatie. Ze is mede-auteur van het boek G1000. Ervaringen met burgertoppen (2016) en auteur van onder meer ‘Innovations in democratic governance. How does citizen participation contribute to a better democracy’ (2011) en ‘Participation in citizens’ summits and public engagement’ (2017), beide in International Review of Administrative Sciences.

Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is als docent verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Zijn onderzoek handelt over democratische innovatie, met een specifieke focus op deliberatieve democratie. In 2011 was hij mede-organisator van de G1000 Burgertop in België. Hij is ook mede-auteur van Democratic deliberation in deeply divided societies: From conflict to common ground (Palgrave, 2014) en publiceerde onlangs ‘Generating democratic legitimacy through deliberative innovations: The role of embeddedness and disruptiveness (2016, Representation) en ‘Coproduction in health planning: Challenging the need for “open” policy-making processes’ (2016, International Journal of Public Administration).
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