Eugénie Mérieau

Eugénie Mérieau is a postdoctoral fellow under the Chair of Comparative Constitutionalim, University of Göttingen, in Germany, under the supervision of Professor Ran Hirschl. Her PhD dissertation, which examined Thai Constitutionalism, distinguished by several awards, was published in French and is under contract with Hart Publishing for the English version. She was also a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore during the summer of 2017.

Designation: University of Göttingen
Institution: University of Göttingen
Paper: The Constitutional Design of Tutelary Democracies : Liberal-Authoritarian Constitutionalism in Thailand and Turkey
Abstract: This paper seeks to identify and analyze the constitutional design of Tutelary Democracies, where elected officials face numerous entrenched veto players. Based on the Thai and Turkish cases, it will document how tutelary mechanisms are enshrined in the law, including constitutional law, to argue that such constitutional design consists of the mixing of Hyper-liberal constitutionalism (powerful constitutional courts) together with Authoritarian Constitutionalism (entrenched military power). This paper investigates why, today, Thailand and Turkey have advanced liberal-democratic institutions but authoritarian politics. Traditional explanations of such constitutions being a “façade” are unsatisfactory to explain the political trajectories of these two countries, namely frequent democratic breakdowns, periods of democratization and periods of autocratization. The Army, empowered by Martial Law and its constitutionalization, and the Constitutional Court, empowered by the Constitution as a whole, have become the key actors of the Thai and Turkish hybrid regimes. In both countries, the permanence and ambivalence of Martial Law and the Constitutional Court throughout periods of democratization and autocratization highlight a form of 'constitutional fluidity'. This paper is a contribution to the growing literature on 'hybrid' regimes, democratic breakdown and autocratization.