Constitutional Change

by Professor Helle Krunke, CECS, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen How similar are the Nordic constitutional systems? Which common roots and legal-historical developments do they share? How do the Nordic constitutions regulate institutions and division of powers, judicial review of legislation, parliamentary control of the executive and human rights? Do the EU and international human rights conventions draw the Nordic constitutional systems closer to each other or further apart?
by Tanja Karakamisheva-Jovanovska, Full-time Professor of Constitutional Law at the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus” in Skopje, University “Sc. Cyril and Methodius”, Republic of Macedonia The well-known nebulous and irrational problem that my country, Republic of Macedonia, has with Greece for 27 years seems to have reached its zenith.
by Thomas Fleiner, Professor Emeritus of Public Law, University of Fribourg, Former President of the Executive Committee of the IACL The voters decided to reject the popular initiative with the lowest turnout (33.7%) of the last 6 years.  At the same time, the majority of the voters adopted the law on the risk of money games. The sovereign decided on this Sunday with two decisions. One decision was on a popular initiative for sovereign or plain money, the second was a referendum on the law concerning the risk of playing games with money.  
by Emese Szilágyi, Junior Research Fellow, Scientific Secretary of the Institute for Legal Studies, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences This new book, edited by two prominent Hungarian constitutional scholars, Zoltán Szente and Fruzsina Gárdos-Orosz examines how the most exigent social, economic and political challenges affect constitutional adjudication at both national and European levels. More precisely, the research question was whether the most recent global challenges, such as the world economic crisis, the new wave of international terrorism or mass migration have changed the well-embedded judicial constructions or, in general, the jurisprudence of constitutional and supranational courts.
by Thomas Fleiner The sovereign decided on this Sunday on two crucial decisions, with regard to the Swiss constitution: The turnout of this vote was 54.1%. This turnout is exceptionally high for Switzerland, because the discussions mainly on the decision of the sovereign with regard to radio and television were strongly emotional. The first decision concerns a federal decision of the Swiss parliament about the financial order of Switzerland (Article196 cipher 13, 14 par 1 and 15 of the Constitution). The sovereign adopted this first decision by a majority of 84,1%; all cantons adopted this decision of the Parliament; however, the sovereign rejected the second popular initiative by a majority of  71,6% against 28.4%. 
by Fiona De Londras, Professor of Global Legal Studies, Deputy Head of Birmingham Law School The Irish Constitution can only be formally amended by referendum (Art. 46). Unlike in some jurisdictions, however, there is no formal mechanism for popular initiative: ultimately only the Oireachtas [Parliament] can propose a referendum, and the exact wording of the proposition put to the People ordinarily comes from the Attorney General. What the current developments in respect of the 8th Amendment and its potential repeal show, however, is that constitutional change in Ireland is not necessarily a technocratic, elite discourse: it can be, and in this case is being, driven by a social demand for change.
by Rasmus Smith Nielsen, PhD student The article concludes that the Danish Supreme Court in its judgment UfR 2017.824H (Ajos case) has ruled that 1) an application of the general EU principle prohibiting discrimination on grounds of age in Denmark together with 2) direct effect and horizontal effect of article 21 in the Charter on Fundamental Rights of the European Union and 3) direct effect of law derived from TEU art. 6, section 3, would under e.g. the Danish EU accession law constitute an infringement of art. 88 of the Danish Constitution (amendment of the constitution), and 4) the European Court of Justice has according to the Danish Supreme Court, at least, before 1th December 2009 infringed the treaty (currently TEU and TFEU), cf. e.g. TEU art. 5, section 2, TEU art. 13, section 2, and TFEU art. 352.
by Zoran Oklopcic, Associate Professor at the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. While one might choose to focus on the contradictions and dissimulations which Lockean performances oftentimes require, the Catalan crisis is an occasion to ask a set of less judgmental questions: What is it that compels present-day revolutionary secessionists to follow the script intended to serve struggles against oppressive tyrants and empires, not liberal democrats and republics? What do those who follow it today expect to happen as a consequence of doing so? Or, more precisely: What are Catalans betting on as they perform the role of reasonable revolutionaries—who, in a contemporary dramatization of the Lockean script by the Catalan parliament—make ‘every effort’ to stay on the constitutional path, and who act unconstitutionally only ‘after exhausting all forms of dialogue and negotiation’? What is it that they think they must do in order to increase the chances of their bet succeeding?
by Zoran Oklopcic, Associate Professor at the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. Since the advent of popular sovereignty at the turn of the 19th century, referendums have been one of the most (excuse the pun) popular techniques of ascertaining the extent of popular support for a variety of far-reaching political projects. Oftentimes viewed as indispensable for demonstrating the legitimacy of secessionist pursuits, independence referendums have only rarely resulted in victories for advocates of the constitutional status quo. Among the 54 referendums that have taken place since the early 1800s, 43 saw the triumph of pro-independence majorities. In terms of their actual success in seceding, however, things predictably look different. Out of the victorious 43, only 22 pro-independence majorities managed to achieve independence peacefully. In the case of the remaining 21, independence either never occurred, or, when it did, took place only after a period of protracted violence.

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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%.

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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.

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