On January 26, 2014, an overwhelming majority of the National Constituent Assembly of Tunisia approved the country's new constitution. Drafted in the aftermath of the Tunisian revolution, the constitution received considerable international critical acclaim, regarding the manner in which the text had been drafted and adopted as well as its content, notably the entrenchment of a host of fundamental rights and liberties. Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Egypt's new constitution and those of other Arab nations, with the Tunisian text hailed as one of the most progressive in the region, providing the foundations for a modern and credible democracy. In accomplishing this feat, the constitution's drafters were assisted by the European Commission for Democracy Through Law, better known as the Venice Commission - something that has, however, not been widely recognized. And the Tunisians are not alone. Since the Venice Commission's inception in 1990, its services to advise and assist on constitutional reform projects have been engaged with a growing frequency, by both European and non-European states. This development means that the Venice Commission is rapidly becoming an actor of significance in constitutional engineering and, further, that its involvement in processes of constitutional change across different jurisdictions may generate convergence in national constitutional designs and approaches. Somewhat surprisingly, however, the work of the Commission appears to have largely escaped academic notice. This neglect is all the more stark given that formal changes to constitutional arrangements are generally on the rise.
constitutional law, Tunisia, Arab nations, Venice Commission
Comparative and Foreign Law | Constitutional Law
Law, Society and Governance
American Journal of Comparative Law
American Society of Comparative Law
DE VISSER, Maartje.
A Critical Assessment of the Role of the Venice Commission in Processes of Domestic Constitutional Reform. (2015). American Journal of Comparative Law. 63, (4), 963-1008. Research Collection School Of Law.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sol_research/1532