Sri Lanka is in the middle of a constitutional reform process that aims to bring durable peace to the island as well as bolster democratic institutions. Success is not guaranteed: Will parliament garner the necessary two-thirds majority to pass amendments to the constitution? And if the amendments require approval by referendum, will the people vote in favour?
Constitutional referendums occur frequently around the world – in 2016, there were more than ten such referendums. However, even where countries hold constitutional referendums with good reason for optimism, experience has shown that referendums can fail. Designing a Constitutional Referendum: Challenges for Sri Lanka explores other countries' experiences of constitutional referendums and draws on best practices to inform the ongoing debate in Sri Lanka.
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