A constitution is the supreme law of a country. In contrast to ordinary legislation, a constitution embodies the fundamental choices made by a country and its people that establish the basis for political and social life. While intended to be both foundational and enduring, constitutions are not intended to be immutable; if they are to endure, they must be able to respond to changing needs and circumstances.
The challenge is to design an amendment process that allows a constitution to be changed for the public good, when necessary, when supported by a sufficient consensus, and after careful deliberation, but that prevents it from being changed for self-interested, partisan, destructive or short-term motives.
International IDEA’s Constitution-Building Primers are designed to assist in-country constitution-building or constitutional-reform processes by helping citizens, political parties, civil society organisations, public officials, and members of constituent assemblies make wise constitutional choices.
They also provide guidance for staff of intergovernmental organizations and other external actors working to provide well-informed, context-relevant support to local decision-makers.