Indian constitution among models to be inspired by: Tunisia

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by ejazr, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Indian constitution among models to be inspired by: Tunisian minister

    Tunisia wants to learn from India's experience of pluralistic democracy and looks at the Indian constitution as one of the models to be inspired by in writing its new constitution, the country's foreign minister says.

    Hedi Ben Abbas, Tunisia's minister of state for foreign affairs, said Tuesday that his country was impressed by India's ability to maintain cohesion despite ethnic, cultural diversities.

    "How to manage that cohesion, inspired at least in that area (from the Indian constitution)...It certainly is one of the models to be inspired from," Abbas told mediapersons here.

    Abbas said Tunisia, where the Arab Spring movement began, also wanted to learn from the Indian experience of holding elections.

    The north African country will condcut elections next year after its constitution is written, the deadline for which is March 2013.

    Street protests began in Tunisia in December 2010 over unemployment, corruption and high food prices and escalated in January 2011 culminating in president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali fleeing the country after 23 years of authoritarian rule.

    Elections for a constituent assembly elections were held in October 2011. The constituent assembly is charged with drafting a new constitution and preparing for legislative and presidential elections. The country has a coalition government which includes Islamists and secularists.

    "The whole world will have its eyes on Tunisia (when elections are held)," Abbas said.
    Abbas also evinced interest in India's experience of using electronic voting machines in the elections but said it would not be possible to use them in 2013 elections.

    "Given the time we have, it is too early to implement this in the coming elections," Abbas said.

    He said the country wanted to depart from the old constitution based on the French system. "(We are) designing something that is futuristic," he said.

    Stressing on cultural ties, Abbas said he wanted Tunisia to be more visible in India and added that the two countries "share common cultural elements".

    "Bollywood industry is so strong.. it is already invading different cultural spaces in Tunisia," he said.

    He said Tunisia's relationship with the West was very strong because of social, economic and geographical links, but the country "was reinforcing relationship with the Eastern countries" including Japan and China besides India.

    The minister said that India and Tunisia have set a target to take their bilateral trade to $1 billion in the next three years.

    Answering queries on Syria, Abbas said Tunisia supported the Syrian people but did not want to create a situation "in which foreign countries interfere directly".

    "We do not want military intervention and want opposition parties to unite," Abbas said.

    He also said that as a country where the Arab Spring began, Tunisia is not keen to "export" it to the region but cannot help if neighbours take it as an example.

    "The way things happened in Tunisia (we) not necessarily wanted to export (it). Political situation is different, ethnic situation is different (in each country) and cannot transpose one situation on the other... Can't help if neighbours taking Tunisia as an example," Abbas said.

    He said his government also was responsibile for the success of the "democratic process" underway in his country.

    "If we do not succeed in Tunisia, chances of success in neighbouring countries is very low," Abbas had said Monday in a talk at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) at Sapru House and added that the democratic process should succeed so as to become a basis of good governance in the region.

    The Arab Spring was a string of uprisings in the Arab world that began in December 2010 with the self-immolation by vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi, who lived in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia. It ultimately forced out the rulers from power in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and caused unrest in Bahrain and Syria.

    Abbas Tuesday met Vice President Hamid Ansari and Minister of State for Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar.
     
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  3. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    one question how can be indian constitution be role model it has been amendments 116 time while those of USA has been amendments only 27 times
     
  4. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    I don't think there's a correlation between the number of amendments and the quality of a constitution. Democratic constitutions are designed specifically with the intention of allowing amendments. The only thing that matters is how well the amendments serve the society at large.
     
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  5. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    well what i mean to say is that american constitution was so designed that it required only 27 amendments while india which is relatively younger democratic country had 116 amendments till date and it can continue in future
     
  6. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    That is true, however I don't think it is a reflection upon the quality of the document. India is a far, far more complex society and the inception of the Indian state itself was extremely messy and tumulus. Many of the amendments came about in order to incorporate the structural changes that were ongoing as the country moved from an imperial colony composed of vassal princely states to a democratic republic. Furthermore the amendments had to be implemented in order to accommodate a ridiculously heterogeneous society.

    To me the quality of a constitution can be measured by assessing two factors: 1) how easy it is to abuse and manipulate a constitution. 2) how difficult it is to repair the damage in the event of abuse. In India other than Indira Gandhi's attempts to abuse the constitution there haven't been any other calamitous disasters and moreover Gandhi's debasement of the constitution was reversed relatively quickly. This is actually a very good indicator.

    Bad constitutions are those that can easily be exploited by tin pot dictators or feudal lords who then use it as toilet paper. And unfortunately the developing world is littered with such constitutions.

    If you put all the factors into perspective I would actually say that the Indian constitution is arguably the greatest masterpiece of democratic literature thus far and it will only keep improving as more suitable amendments are made.
     
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  7. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    ^^ I might add one more obvious reason for the US constitution being so small.

    Its because the US is much more federal in nature than India where states are vested with more powers than the Centre. Almost each state in the US has its own consitution and flag which is usually much longer than the US constitution. On the other hand, in India, except for J&K no other state has its own constitution.

    Infact, Alabama for example has a constitution which 3 times longer than the Indian constition and has 800+ amendments.
    Constitution of Alabama - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  8. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Ejazr is correct regarding the federal nature of the United States. Most of the rights held by U.S. citizens as well as most regulatory laws are derived from state constitutions; the Federal Constitution only lays out the basic legal framework by which all states are expected to abide. The rights of the state in comparison to the rights of the centre has been a matter of great importance and contention throughout U.S. history; the American Civil War, for example, was fought primarily due to the perception in the South that the North-dominated Federal gov't was infringing on the state rights of Southern states.
     
  9. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    so should we have american type constitution because india is more diversed then america
     

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