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1.02.2010

Constitutional Hotspots for 2010?

I wonder if readers have thoughts on what locations will be likely to experience a constitutional crisis of some kind in 2010. Many of those that have had ongoing difficulties in the past year (Niger, Honduras, Zimbabwe) are likely to continue. Here are some other possibilities:

Thailand's deep political divisions have not been resolved, and if by chance His Majesty King Bhumibol Ayuldeyej happens to pass to the next world, the situation may become even more volatile. (Shameless plug--I've recently written about it, and things have not stabilized.) One sign of underlying instability is that prosecutions for lese majeste--insulting the monarchy, still a serious crime in Thailand--are up from 17 in 2005 to at least 60 a year now. With ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra now ensconced next door in Cambodia, there is mischief to be made. Of course, to predict constitutional instability in Thailand is like predicting snow in Chicago in winter.

2) Palestinian elections scheduled for this month have been postponed after Hamas refused to participate. What exactly is the legal status of the government? With the peace process at a standstill and continued conflict between Hamas and Fatah, it seems unlikely that any resolution or new constitutional agreement is in the offing.

3) Sudan: In one year, as per the 2005 Naivasha Agreement, the southern Sudan will have a referendum on whether or not to become independent. There have been significant disputes over the ground rules for the referendum, mostly resolved. But will the central government really tolerate the separation of such a significant amount of its territory?

I'm sure there are many oter possibilities out there as well.







1 comment:

  1. Burma/Myanmar: Next year Burma will hold its first elections under the 2008 Constitution, the country's first constitution in over 20 years. The new government will subsequently establish several new institutions, including a constitutional tribunal and regional legislatures. The constitution was already deeply unpopular among prodemocracy activists and heavily criticized by the international community. Thus far, most of the democratic opposition have chose to boycott the election. Some ethnic minority insurgents have refused to turn over their weapons, as required by the constitution. In fact, it's not unlikely that the election results to lead to further mass protests or even renewed civil war. At the very least, 2010 will provide Burma watchers with our first glimpse at how the new constitution will operate in practice.

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