13: Constitutional dimensions of political parties and elections
The role of political parties in the democratic process has been examined by political scientists for quite a long time. This has not been the case in constitutional law which only recently has started focusing on them and producing legal studies on the role of the political parties in promoting constitutionalism.
Parties are no longer considered as merely private associations: they are public actors whose activities have an important repercussion on constitutional life. More and more, political parties are now subjected to public law rules or even to constitutional norms. The nature and scope of these norms and their impact on constitutional life varies from state to state. It is the emerging practice of progressive constitutionalisation of the role of political parties that will be discussed within the framework of this workshop.
Paper presenters will be expected to look at and discuss several issues and attempt to answer some of the following questions:
- What are the constitutional rules pertaining to the birth and the life of political parties?
- How may parties be dissolved?
- When will parties not be allowed to participate in elections for purely political reasons?
- What are the controls on the parties, on their finances, on their internal democratic life, on the primaries and their going adrift?
- Are there any constitutional rules to check against party monopoly, de facto or de jure on elections?
- Is there a constitutional role or protection of opposition parties?
To all those questions, one may add those relating to the constitutional protection of the election process and, in particular those designed to ensure fairness and transparency in the electoral system.
It is suggested that papers should not merely concentrate on national practices. The papers should, preferably choose topics which could be illustrated using national examples, but try to be comparative and distil any constitutional law theories and principles which appear to be emerging and their significance in promoting constitutionalism.
All received papers will be reviewed and the authors informed promptly about the outcome. Abstracts of papers accepted for presentation during the conference will be published at the conference site.