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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: November 2011

3 - Constitutional and Extra-constitutional Struggles

from The Ottoman Empire


In a raw calculus of rational alternatives, the CUP should not have stopped short of a complete takeover of the executive, given its military might. Under the influence of the global master-frame, however, the CUP was content with monarchical constitutionalism even if parliamentarian structures could only slow down, or could even threaten, its radical reform agenda. Its commitment to separating the legislative and executive diverted power struggles toward legal structures. Here was ideology at work.

Thus began the struggles between an infant Chamber of Deputies and a government resistant to constitutional conduct. Fights over the rights and responsibilities of the Chamber, the cabinet, the prime minister, and the monarch, or over setting procedures for changing or amending the constitution and standards for interpreting it, exemplified some of these. In practice, these led to the interpellation of ministers and the fall of cabinets, the clash of opposition parties, maneuvering and coalition-building within the Chamber, and exploitation of differences by rivals. This period also witnessed the emergence of a genuine public sphere in the press and associations attuned to working out the meaning and functions of a constitutional administration in the making.

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