Contributor: Felix Knüpling

Changing Federal Constitutions

This book analyses constitutional change in federal and decentralizing countries from a comparative perspective. The countries that are covered are Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, and France. The authors identify structures, processes and strategies which have proven to favour successful constitutional amendments. Thereby, the book enables public officials, scholars, and students to learn from the constitutional reform experiences of other federal democracies and from practical suggestions how future reforms could be designed. The volume is based on a research project carried out at the Institute for European Constitutional Science, FernUniversitat in Hagen and the Institute for Political Science, Technische Universitat Darmstadt and on an international conference co-organized by the two institutes and the Forum of Federations that took place in Germany’s Bundesrat in February 2011. The knowledge accumulated in Forum of Federations’ previous engagement in various comparative research projects concerning constitutional reforms in federal systems has also contributed considerably to both the conference and the present volume.

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Changing Federal Constitutions Number 8

Constitutional change can occur through constitutional amendments
or through constitutional evolution. Constitutional amendments take
place in three phases: initiation, negotiation and ratification. Initiators
– usually governments or political leaders – most often initiate reform,
but pressure to do so may come from the regions or from civil society.
When federal or federalizing countries negotiate constitutional
change, representatives from the central government and the regions
are most often involved, but individual actors – experts, members of
parliament, civil servants and civil society representatives can come
from any order of government. Arenas of negotiation can be committees,commissions, conferences or conventions.
Different types of bargaining and arguing can also influence the negotiations positively or negatively. Whether negotiations happen in public or private can influence the outcome, as to when certain actors join the negotiations
process (someone left out until the end can feel that the “deck was
stacked against them.”)

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Federalism and Education: Cross-National Lessons on Governance, Standards, and Accountability for the 21st Century Number 22

Given these critical issues in federalism and education, the Forum of Federations, Ottawa, Canada, in collaboration the Fundación Manuel Giménez Abad in Zaragoza, Spain, has organized a Program on “Federalism and Education: Governance, Standards, and Innovation for the 21st Century.” The Program on Federalism and Education aims to examine how countries with federal systems of government design, govern, finance, and assure quality in their educational systems spanning from early childhood to secondary school graduation. Particular attention is given to functional division between governmental layers of the federal system as well as mechanisms of intergovernmental cooperation both vertically and horizontally. The Forum aims to draw out comparative lessons and experiences in an area of great importance to not only federal countries but also countries that are emerging toward a federal system.

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