Constitutional Change

by Prof. Markus Kern / Fabian Schmid, University of Bern On February 9, 2020, two proposals were up for decision by the Swiss electorate: – the Popular Initiative claiming “more affordable homes” as well as – a referendum concerning a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in criminal law The Popular Initiative was rejected by 57.1% of the Swiss population and by all but 4½ of the cantons, whereas the amendment of criminal law was clearly accepted by a majority of 63.1% of the voters. Electoral turnout was at 41.7% resp. 40.9%.
by Tímea Drinóczi, Professor, University of Pécs, Faculty of Law, Hungary Illiberal states emerging in Europe, such as Hungary and Poland, are still constitutional democracies, which are shaped peacefully by populist politicians from a more substantial form of constitutional democracy that prioritizes (liberal) constitutional values through the use of populist style of governance, abusive constitutionalism, and autocratic legalism.[1] In our cases, the minimum requirements of a constitutional democracy, such as the rule of law, human rights, and democracy, have been defectively worded in a constitution, or poorly implemented or enforced.
by Tímea Drinóczi, Professor, University of Pécs, Faculty of Law, Hungary This short note argues that the term illiberal constitutionalism shall be used when describing the constitutional system of a particular state in the process of backsliding from the state of constitutional democracy towards an authoritarian regime. The main argument of those who oppose this term is that constitutionalism cannot be anything else but liberal. Neither Hungary nor Poland can nurture constitutionalism anymore because there are no effective constraints on public power.
by Antoni Abat Ninet, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Copenhagen, Denmark After 500 days of pre-trial detention, and facing charges of rebellion and sedition (among others) which carries a maximum of 30 years in prison, it found guilty, former Catalan representatives and grassroots activist had finally the possibility to be heard by the Supreme Court in Madrid. A court on which there are reasonable doubts about their competence to deal with this trial.
by Prof. Markus Kern / Tobias Egli, University of Bern Construction activity in Switzerland is intense: Every day, the equivalent of eight soccer pitches is newly covered with buildings. The increasing concern about the phenomenon of urban sprawl has already had tangible political consequences in recent years: In 2012 the so called «Second Home Initiative» was accepted on the federal level, banning the construction of second homes in municipalities with a proportion of second homes exceeding 20%. In the same year the voters of the Canton of Zurich accepted the so called «Arable Land Initiative» aiming at the protection of arable land in the canton.
by Prof. Markus Kern / Nora Camenisch-Ehinger, University of Bern On November 25, 2018 three proposals were up for decision by the Swiss electorate. Two of them were pertaining to constitutional change and can be said to be situated at either of the poles of constitutional importance:
Edited by Richard Albert, Xenophon Contiades and Alkmene Fotiadou (Routledge 2018, 266 pages). Constitutions are often seen as the product of the free will of a people exercising their constituent power. This, however, is not always the case, particularly when it comes to ‘imposed constitutions’. In recent years there has been renewed interest in the idea of imposition in constitutional design, but the literature does not yet provide a comprehensive resource to understand the meanings, causes and consequences of an imposed constitution. The book is now available at https://www.routledge.com/The-Law-and-Legitimacy-of-Imposed-Constitutions/Albert-Contiades-Fotiadou/p/book/9781138488984
by Michael Hein, Postdoc Fellow, University of Göttingen, Alexander von Humboldt Chair of Comparative Constitutionalism Next weekend, on the 6th and 7th of October, 2018, the citizens of Romania will have the final say on an amendment to the Romanian Constitution of 1991. If approved, it will change Art. 48, para. 1, which defines the family as “based on a freely consented marriage by the spouses”.
by Prof. Markus Kern / Antonia Huwiler, University of Bern The Swiss electorate only accepted one of the three proposals up for discussion: The direct counter-proposal to the Bike Initiative. The Fair Food Initiative and the Initiative for food sovereignty have been rejected. The voter turnout amounted to around 37%.

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Swiss votations on February 9, 2020

by Prof. Markus Kern / Fabian Schmid, University of Bern

On February 9, 2020, two proposals were up for decision by the Swiss electorate:
– the Popular Initiative claiming “more affordable homes” as well as
– a referendum concerning a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in criminal law
The Popular Initiative was rejected by 57.1% of the Swiss population and by all but 4½ of the cantons, whereas the amendment of criminal law was clearly accepted by a majority of 63.1% of the voters. Electoral turnout was at 41.7% resp. 40.9%.

Read More »

Illiberal constitutionalism 2 – constraints on public power

by Tímea Drinóczi, Professor, University of Pécs, Faculty of Law, Hungary

Illiberal states emerging in Europe, such as Hungary and Poland, are still constitutional democracies, which are shaped peacefully by populist politicians from a more substantial form of constitutional democracy that prioritizes (liberal) constitutional values through the use of populist style of governance, abusive constitutionalism, and autocratic legalism.[1] In our cases, the minimum requirements of a constitutional democracy, such as the rule of law, human rights, and democracy, have been defectively worded in a constitution, or poorly implemented or enforced.

Read More »