List of political leaders who suspended the constitution

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The following heads of government or heads of state formally suspended provisions of the country's constitution while in office.

Suspended in full

Name Country Year Reason
Henry George Grey, 3rd Earl Grey  New Zealand 1848[1] The constitution put in place by the Colonial Office in London put all power in the hands of the small settler population. Grey suspended the constitution rather than risk all-out war with the much larger native Māori population.
Miguel Primo de Rivera  Spain 1923
Alexander I of Yugoslavia  Kingdom of Yugoslavia 1929-1931 An assassination in the National Assembly was used as a pretext for absolutism and the dissolution of the Assembly.
Francisco Franco  Spanish State 1939–1975 Suspended the Constitution of 1931 after nationalists victory in Spanish Civil War
Ion Antonescu  Romania 1940–1944
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Ching-kuo
1948-1991 Temporary Provisions against the Communist Rebellion
Joseph Arthur Ankrah  Ghana 1966
Jean-Bédel Bokassa  Central African Republic 1966
Milton Obote  Uganda 1966
Leabua Jonathan  Lesotho 1970
Park Chung Hee  South Korea 1971
Ferdinand Marcos  Philippines 1972 Marcos claimed that a supposed Communist takeover of the government compelled him to suspend the 1935 Constitution and impose Martial Law.
Augusto Pinochet  Chile 1973
Sobhuza II  Swaziland 1973
Juan María Bordaberry  Uruguay 1973
Seyni Kountché  Niger 1974
Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq  Pakistan 1977
France-Albert René  Seychelles 1977
Mustafa Ould Salek  Mauritania 1978
Maurice Bishop  Grenada 1979–1983 The Constitution was suspended after the bloodless ouster of former Prime Minister Eric Gairy, yet some rights protections were simultaneously enacted under The People's Laws 1979. The declared plans for a Constitutional referendum were not carried out prior to Bishop's assassination in October 1983.[2]
Saye Zerbo  Upper Volta 1980
Jerry Rawlings  Ghana 1981
Hossain Mohammad Ershad  Bangladesh 1982
Efraín Ríos Montt  Guatemala 1982
Lansana Conté  Guinea 1984
Abdel Rahman Swar al-Dahab  Sudan 1985
Sitiveni Rabuka  Fiji 1987
Pierre Buyoya  Burundi 1987
Saw Maung  Burma 1988
Henri Namphy  Haiti 1988
Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir  Sudan 1989
Idriss Déby  Chad 1990
Amadou Toumani Touré  Mali 1991
Jorge Serrano Elías  Guatemala 1993
Yahya Jammeh  Gambia 1994
Johnny Paul Koroma  Sierra Leone 1997
Denis Sassou-Nguesso  Republic of the Congo 1997–2002 According to the United States State Department: "[T]he Sassou regime [...] announced that a constitutional convention would finalize a draft Constitution. However, the eruption in late 1998 of fighting between Sassou's government forces and a pro-Lissouba and pro-Kolelas armed opposition disrupted the transition to democracy. [...] A new Constitution was [...] approved by the people of Congo in a national referendum in January 2002." [3]
Pervez Musharraf  Pakistan 1999–2007
Frank Bainimarama  Fiji 2000
Pedro Carmona  Venezuela 2002 See Venezuelan coup attempt of 2002
Gyanendra    Nepal 2005
Sonthi Boonyaratglin  Thailand 2006
Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (headed by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi)  Egypt 2011 During the Egyptian Revolution of 2011[4]

Suspended in part

Name Country Year Reason
Adolf Hitler  Nazi Germany 1933–1945 See Enabling Act of 1933.
Omar Ali Saifuddien III  Brunei 1962
Idi Amin  Uganda 1971
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman  Bangladesh 1975 Declared himself president for life.
Indira Gandhi  India 1975–1977 See Indian Emergency Disputed - This was done per provision(s) (Article 352) of the Indian Constitution, which then permitted the declaration of Emergency on the grounds of 'internal disturbance'. Later, the reasoning provided has been challenged as being dubious. The grounds for declaration of emergency under Article 352 was amended in 1978 from 'internal disturbance' to 'armed rebellion'.
Alberto Fujimori  Peru 1992–1993 Fujimori declared that "those parts of the Constitution that were not compatible with the reorganization of the central government" were suspended.[5]
Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir  Sudan 1999

See also


  1. ^ "George Grey", Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Mariam Fam and Maram Mazen. "Egypt Army Dissolves Parliament, Lifts Constitution". Businessweek. 
  5. ^
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