The need for sub-national constitutions in federal theory and practice. The Belgian case

Comparative constitutional scholarship identifies sub-national constituent power as one of the defining features of federal systems. Moreover, according to public choice theory, devolutionary federal systems are expected to favor the creation of sub-national constitutions. For these reasons, the absence of real constitutional power for the sub-states in Belgium appears to be an anomaly. The research question of this paper explores the validity of this approach. More generally, the question is: how important is it in a federal state for sub-states to have their own sub-national constitutions? Arguments pro and contra are analyzed and applied to the Belgian case. I argue that sub-national constitutionalism is a matter of political balance between national and sub-national powers, rather than a principle of federal theory
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