The Role of the Constitution in the Political Process and Manifestation of Constitutionalism in the Asian Context
The constitution is the legal basis of the state that determines the modes and main institutions of governance. The modes and institutions can only operate under the legal and political structures established by the state (Craig, 2011). The constitution dictates issues related to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and separation of powers among the three arms of the government namely the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. The constitution regulates the interaction of the aspects of law and power in the national and international systems of governance.
The constitution ensures that as much as there is a fair national government, individual freedoms are protected from abuse by government machinery. The president usually heads the executive branch and officiates the laws that have been passed by the parliament (Craig, 2011). Besides, the president acts as the commander in chief of the armed forces and also appoints and removes cabinet secretaries. The legislature is mandated with the duty of making laws that are either passed or dismissed in its floor. The judicial system, on the other hand, interprets the laws of the land and sentences civilians according to these legislations.
Asia portrays diverse constitutionalism due to the various political ideologies, religions, cultures, languages, colonial histories and economic developments. The Asian region has produced different constitutional traditions spanning authoritarian, communitarian, liberal, monarchy, secular and theocratic ideologies (Caldwell & Terry, 2012). The judiciary is mainly non-existent and good governance is usually sought through a political process and public avenues as opposed to the courts. Some of the states in Asia such as Singapore and Hong Kong have retained the legal practices drawn from their European colonialists. On the other hand, China has retained its Confucian moral ideologies on top of communism. Besides, Japan and China have adopted the Western legal categories while affirming the rule of law.
Caldwell, E. and Terry, N. (2012). Methodological Approaches to Asian Constitutionalism: Introduction. Chicago Kent Law Review. 88(1): 1-9.
Craig, P. (2011). Political Constitutionalism and the Judicial Role: A Response. International Journal of Constitutional Law. 9(1): 112- 131.