Constitutional Change

by John McEldowney. Introduction. The rise in popularity of the United Kingdom Independence Party(UKIP) in the UK amidst the possibility of popular support for euro-sceptic political parties raises major constitutional issues about the UK’s continued membership of the EU. A recent TV debate between the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of UKIP proved how difficult it was to present technical arguments for membership in the context of popular scepticism about the EU. Winning the argument to stay in the EU will not be easy as a promised “in/out” referendum is likely to be held if the Conservative Party win the next election. The time-table for the next general election is fixed for May 2015 but the run up to that election will set an unprecedented time for the UK. There are considerable self-imposed constraints on the UK’s approach to the EU that mark a considerable departure from the approach of previous governments.
by Zoltán Szente In the parliamentary elections of Hungary, held on 6 April, the ruling conservative coalition i.e. the alliance of Fidesz and the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP), as in 2010, gained once again a two-thirds majority. It was the first election after the considerable and highly debated changes in constitutional and election rules. The Fidesz-KDNP won 133 of the 199 parliamentary mandates, while the left-liberal Unity Alliance acquired 38, the extreme right Jobbik 23, and the liberal green party LMP 5 seats.
by Dimitris Christopoulos, Associate Professor – Panteion University of Social & Political Science (Athens GR), Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights. The dilemma between freedom and security is regularly raised in debates among human rights defenders and activists. This perceived dilemma implies that being secure means giving up liberty: we accept surveillance – we give up our freedom – because we believe that this will protect our safety. Faced with the upcoming constitutional revision human rights defenders in Greece have to make choices which perhaps entail revisiting this dilemma.
by Thomas Fleiner In Switzerland, any constitutional amendment can only enter into force when the double majority of the voters of Switzerland and the voters of the cantons have adopted the partial or the general revision of the constitution (Article 140 of the Swiss Constitution). Most constitutional revisions are proposed to the sovereign (majority of the national voters and of the cantonal voters) by the ordinary legislature that is a parliament with a national chamber and a chamber of the cantons.
by David Gwynn Morgan For too many generations, Western (or Western-dominated) Law Schools have taught the Separation of Powers, in its classic Greek polis -originated form, not forgetting to mention Montesquieu (and be sure to get the spelling right ). The trouble with the Separation of Powers is that it originated for a form of government entirely different from the modern administrative state.
by Prof. Dr. Zoltán Szente In September 2013, the National Assembly of Hungary adopted the fifth amendment of the Fundamental Law of 2011. This modification, similarly to the basic law and all of its modifications, was voted only by the MPs of the government coalition, but, as the Government has a constitution-making (that is a two-thirds) majority in Parliament, it was enough to adopt it.
by Xenophon Contiades Before the constitutional revision process begins in Greece it is crucial to focus on the influence exerted by the crisis on the dialogue about constitutional revision. Could it be, that to amend a Constitution in the midst of a crisis is not a wise choice?
by John McEldowney The UK is undergoing a period of rapid constitutional change and innovation. The Labour Government elected in 1995, implemented a number of constitutional changes mainly because of election manifesto promises including: Devolution to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, a newly elected Mayor and London Assembly; the Human Rights Act 1998; partial reform of the House of Lords in 1999 and also the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, with the creation of a Ministry of Justice and the setting up of a UK Supreme Court.

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