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Studies of the rigidity of constitutional amendment often focus on formulas that are applied in the final stages of amendment, stating that amendments must be decided by a two-thirds parliamentary majority, by a three-fourths majority, by referendum, by a combination of several such prescriptions, and so forth. However, much can probably be added to our knowledge of rigidity causes and consequences by expanding research to cover other decision stages, like the proposal stage, which conveys the right of constitutional amendment initiative on specified actors and institutions. While several countries do not in their current constitutions regulate the constitutional amendment proposal stage, initiative prescriptions are in fact given in a majority of the constitutions of the countries of the world, the precise number being 111. The number is impressive and certainly suggests that the proposal stage merits comparative study and examination. Initiating such examination, a preliminary empirical investigation of initiative clauses in 40 selected countries suggests that accounting for initiative rigidity makes in many cases a difference that alters the rigidity profiles that emanate from more traditional approaches to rigidity; in consequence, measurements of constitutional rigidity should preferably observe not only the decisive amendment stage but also include methods that are used for proposing amendments.


Comparative Politics, Constitutional Amendment, Constitutional Rigidity, Amendment Proposal Stage, Initiative Rigidity

Cite this paper

Anckar, D. 2017 Constitutional Amendment—The Proposal Stage. Beijing Law Review, 8, 41-54. doi: 10.4236-blr.2017.81004.

Author: Dag Anckar



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