Claudio A. Fuentes

89 Texas L. Rev. 1741

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Professor Fuentes, “explores the political dynamics responsible for transforming the rules of constitutional reform” in light of the recent democratic transformation of Chile.  He concludes that forward-looking decision-making, as one factor of many, can compel constitutional amendments that current literature about constitutional reform does not predict.

Existing literature insufficiently explains the politics of constitutional transformation in Latin America.  While other authors have pointed to the dominant influence of the executive branch as an explanation for differing results in Latin America, that is insufficient.  While executive dominance is certainly relevant given revolutions in Chile, the gradual decline in the democratic influence of the executive stands weighs against the prevailing wisdom that concerns about the long-term legitimacy of the political system would encourage prompt, thorough constitutional reforms.  Instead, democratic parties that supported the executive traded away individual constitutional protections of executive authority to preserve legitimacy and maintain an enduring transformation.

On the other hand, the Chilean case suggests strong support for inclusion as a causal mechanism of constitutional change.  As power was transferred to democratic elites from the executive, discontent with the extent of the transformation deepened.  New, more intense reform proposals in Chile’s decision-making suggest Chilean civil society continues to challenge its exclusion from the process and lays the foundation for further inquiry.