What is constitutionalism?
Constitutionalism in a narrow sense is the practice of limited government ensured by the existence of a constitution. This exists when government institutions and political process are effectively constrained by constitutional rules; more broadly, constitutionalism is a seer of political values and aspirations that reflect the desire to protect liberty through the establishment of internal and external checks on government power.
Definition of constitution:
The term constitution may be defined in two different senses, the broad and narrow. In its broad sense, constitution means the guiding principles by which a country is govern. It defined the composition and powers of organs of the state and regulates the relations of various states organs to one another and to the private citizens. In other words, constitution in a broad sense is a fundamental law that establishes the framework of government of a state assigns the powers and duties of government agencies and establishes the relationship between the people and their government.
In a narrow sense, a constitution of a state means a basic document which contains formal statement on the working relationship of the organs of government of that and the rights and duties of the individuals under it.
The constitutions of many Africa and Latin American countries could be said to lack the attributes of constitutionalism because of the frequent military coups and counter-coups and the regularity at which the constitutions of the countries are changed.
Constitution is said to exist where there are body of rules and regulations specifying how people should be governed. Constitutionalism aims at protecting areas of personal and group life from governmental interference. These constitutions exist in various kinds such as, written constitution, unwritten constitution, flexible constitution, rigid constitution, unitary constitution, federal constitution, monarchical constitution and republican constitution.
Generally speaking, the term constitution also refers to agree rules and principles written or unwritten, which govern any community of persons or an organization. It is the articulate of defined law of the land which the people of a state or an organization have accepted as the basic principles to guild the conduct of their affairs and which both the rules and the ruled are obliged to obey. Thus, it is these defined rules and procedures on the basic of which the people of a state or any other group of people are governed that means by constitution.
In a legal conception,. The term constitution refers to the legal instrument which embodies the more essential part of the organic public law of the state.
Constitution is said to be in existence when their is:
- The constitution exerts political impact and meaning
- The constitution protects individual rights and liberties
- The constitution is not under the whims and caprices of those leaders that are not subjected to change continuously by new leaders
- The constitution should be enduring
- The constitution establishing the independence of the judiciary and the rule of laW
The functions of model constitution
- It lays down the form of the state
- It may be written or unwritten
- It may be a deliberate creation or may have been gradually evolved
- It prescribes the structure and organization of the government and also determines the relation of different organs of government
- It may be embodies in one document or several documents
- It may also lay down the rights and duties of the governed
- It often lays down the procedures for its own change or amendments.