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Ordinary elections and constitutional arrangement


Author Info

  • SALMON, Pierre

    (LATEC - Université de Bourgogne)


It is widely held that voting in the course of ordinary elections has no significant influence on the constitutional regime or order of a country. At least three powerful arguments are provided in support of that view. First, to claim that, at the same time as they play, players can change the rules is, to say the least, logically puzzling. A second argument refers to the motivations and possibilities of voters: voters, this argument says, are not really interested in constitutional issues and, even if they were, are particularly ill-equiped to understand their implications. The third argument rests on the observation of what obtains in practice: as a matter of fact, constitutional issues are generally absent from electoral campaigns. After a discussion of what should be included in the constitutional "order, "regime" or "arrangements" of a country, the paper endeavours to neutralize each of the three arguments and show that voters do exercise a very susbstantial influence on constitutional matters simply by the way of their vote in ordinary elections.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne in its series LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) with number 1999-10.

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Date of creation: Jul 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in MUDAMBI,Ram, NAVARRA, Pietro, SOBBRIO, Giuseppe (eds). Rules and Reason: Perspectives on Constitutional Political Economy. Cambridge & New York : Cambridge University Press,2001. p.165-180.
Handle: RePEc:lat:lateco:1999-10

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Keywords: constitutional economics; elections; constitutional change; économie constitutionnelle; élections; changements constitutionnels;

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Cited by:
  1. BRETON, Albert & SALMON, Pierre, 2002. "Constitutional rules and competitive politics : their effects on secessionism," LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) 2002-06, LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne.
  2. Pierre Salmon, 2001. "Constitutional Implications of Electoral Assumptions," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 333-349, December.


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