IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The African Union, constitutionalism and power-sharing


  • Vandeginste, Stef


Over the past decade, the African Union (AU) had put in place an important normative framework to promote constitutional rule and, in particular, orderly constitutional transfers of power in its member states. Through its Peace and Security Council (PSC), the AU has actively opposed, including through the use of sanctions, unconstitutional changes of government. As a key element of its policy, the PSC systematically advocates a return to constitutional order as a remedy for unconstitutional changes of government. Free and fair elections are an important element in the PSC policy of legitimating a new constitutional and political order. However, while opposing unconstitutional means of obtaining or transferring power, the AU has been generally supportive of the use of power-sharing agreements as an instrument of negotiated conflict settlement. Most power-sharing agreements are not in accordance with the prevailing constitutional order and, as part of a larger peace agreement, often contain new constitutional blueprints. This dual policy of, on the one hand, opposing certain types of unconstitutional changes of government, in particular military coups, and, on the other, advocating power-sharing agreements in the absence of a regulatory framework or normative guidance on such agreements poses an obvious challenge for the consistency of AU policy. Insofar as the AU wishes to nurture a culture of constitutionalism in its member states, it might benefit from developing policy guidelines about how to enhance the legitimacy of a new constitutional order - and of the political regime exercising political authority – be it in the aftermath of a coup or as a result of power-sharing.

Suggested Citation

  • Vandeginste, Stef, 2011. "The African Union, constitutionalism and power-sharing," IOB Working Papers 2011.05, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
  • Handle: RePEc:iob:wpaper:2011005

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ndikumana, Leonce, 2004. "Additionality of debt relief and debt forgiveness, and implications for future volumes of official assistance," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 325-340.
    2. Buckley Ross, 2009. "Debt-for-development Exchanges: The Origins of a Financial Technique," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 53-76, June.
    3. Jeremy Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1991. "Sovereign Debt Repurchases: No Cure for Overhang," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1219-1235.
    4. Rahman, Shaikh M. & Dinar, Ariel & Larson, Donald F., 2010. "Will the clean development mechanism mobilize anticipated levels of mitigation ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5239, The World Bank.
    5. Krugman, Paul, 1988. "Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 253-268, November.
    6. Sturzenegger, Federico & Zettelmeyer, Jeromin, 2008. "Haircuts: Estimating investor losses in sovereign debt restructurings, 1998-2005," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 780-805, September.
    7. Cassimon, Danny & Vaessen, Jos, 2007. "Theory, practice and potential of debt for development swaps in the Asian and Pacific region," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 12-34, March.
    8. Cassimon, Danny & Prowse, Martin & Essers, Dennis, 2009. "The pitfalls and potential of debt-for-nature swaps: a US-Indonesian case study," IOB Working Papers 2009.07, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
    9. Enrique Cosio-Pascal, 2008. "The Emerging Of A Multilateral Forum For Debt Restructuring: The Paris Club," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 192, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    10. Cassimon, Danny & Essers, Dennis & Renard, Robrecht, 2009. "An assessment of debt-for-education swaps. Case studies on swap initiatives between Germany and Indonesia and between Spain and El Salvador," IOB Working Papers 2009.03, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
    11. Claessens, Stijn & Diwan, Ishac, 1994. "Recent experience with commercial bank debt reduction: Has the "menu" outdone the market?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 201-213, February.
    12. Hansen, Stein, 1989. "Debt for nature swaps -- Overview and discussion of key issues," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 77-93, February.
    13. Tito Cordella & Luca A Ricci & Marta Ruiz-Arranz, 2005. "Debt Overhang or Debt Irrelevance? Revisiting the Debt-Growth Link," IMF Working Papers 05/223, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Feyzioglu, Tarhan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Zhu, Min, 1998. "A Panel Data Analysis of the Fungibility of Foreign Aid," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 29-58, January.
    15. Emma Paulsson, 2009. "A review of the CDM literature: from fine-tuning to critical scrutiny?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 63-80, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iob:wpaper:2011005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Hans De Backer). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.