Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Eternity clauses in post-conflict and post-authoritarian constitution-making: Promise and limits


The literature on entrenchment as a means to achieve constitutional endurance has grown in recent years, as has the scholarship on unamendable provisions as a mechanism intended to safeguard the constitutional project. However, little attention has been paid to the promise and limits of eternity clauses in transitional settings. Their appeal in this context is great. In an effort to safeguard hard-fought agreements, drafters often declare unamendable what they consider the fundamentals to the political deal: the number of presidential term limits, the commitment to human rights and to democracy, the form of the state (whether republican or monarchical), the territorial integrity of the state, the territorial division of power, secularism or the official religion. This article explores the distinctive role and problems posed by eternity clauses in transitional constitution-building, as guarantees of the pre-constitutional political settlement in such fragile periods. The article also compares unamendability to other techniques of constitution-making in uncertain times, such as sunset clauses, deferring hard choices and other forms of constitutional incrementalism.

Corresponding author
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

M Llanos and L Marsteintredet , ‘Epilogue: The Breakdown of Zelaya’s Presidency: Honduras in Comparative Perspective’ in M Llanos and L Marsteintredet , (eds), Presidential Breakdowns in Latin America. Causes and Outcomes of Executive Instability in Developing Democracies (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY, 2010) 229;

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Global Constitutionalism
  • ISSN: 2045-3817
  • EISSN: 2045-3825
  • URL: /core/journals/global-constitutionalism
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 14
Total number of PDF views: 225 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 181 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 25th April 2017 - 23rd July 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.