Almost every state in the world has a written constitution. The great majority of these declare the constitution to be the law controlling the organs of the state. We tend to label western liberal political systems as `constitutional democracies', dividing the system into a domain of politics where the people rule and a domain of law that is set aside for a trained elite. Legal, political and constitutional practices demonstrate that constitutionalism and democracy seem to be irreconcilable. Is good government feasible and is a constitutional system the best device to rule a country? Can the public and legal sovereignties be reconciled?
Antoni Abat i Ninet is Professor of Constitutional and Comparative Law at the ESADE Law School at the University Ramon Llull, Barcelona.