Pakistan’s Reluctant Constitutionalism

On 20 April 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled in one of the greatest cases in its turbulent history: the impeachment of the prime minister for involvements in shady financial dealings that bubbled up after the Panama Papers. Nothing happened; the court only showed Nawaz Sharif the yellow card. But while Pakistan narrowly missed her constitutional moment by a single judge’s vote, the court’s ruling displayed tremendous democratic maturity.

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‘We Don’t Need No Constitution’ – On a Sad EU Membership Anniversary in Romania

These are troubled constitutional times in Romania. The newly elected government led by the corruption-ridden PSD party is pushing for legislative changes to make corruption offences virtually unpunishable by means of dubious Emergency Ordinances. A pending appeal before the Constitutional Court seeks to have legal provisions which prohibit persons with criminal convictions to occupy public positions in the Government declared unconstitutional. These attempts are met with resistance by the President who calls for an anti-corruption referendum.

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Fighting Judicial Corruption with Constitutional Measures: the Albanian Case

No state can thrive with corrupt political and legal elites. But if lawmakers and judges are corrupt themselves, fighting corruption with legal means is all but impossible. As a step towards membership in the European Union, Albania has embedded a comprehensive reform of its anti-corruption law directly into its constitution.

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Dilma Rousseff and the Impeachment Process: Questions of Power and Influence

Dilma Rousseff, the President of Brazil, is about to be forced out of office soon. Any impeachment process is, first and foremost, political, dealing with questions of power and influence. To be sure, political reforms such as the introduction of measures to significantly reduce the number of parties in Congress are urgently needed. Unfortunately, there is no immediate remedy to this significant deficiency in sight. And yet, it is clear that any governing coalition to function in Brazil’s political system requires a president extremely skilled in engaging with the legislative, creating deals, forging alliances and making compromises. Dilma Rousseff is facing the end of her political career because she has utterly failed in this respect.

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Brasilien: Institutionelle Eigenheiten der politischen Krise

Brasilien erweckt derzeit durch Krisennachrichten Aufmerksamkeit. Die Wirtschaftszahlen sind schlecht. Nicht enden wollende Korruptionsskandale und ein Amtsenthebungsverfahren gegen die 2014 wiedergewählte Präsidentin Dilma Rousseff halten das eben noch als „Wirtschaftsmacht der Zukunft“ gepriesene Land in Atem. Bei einem Kurzbesuch 2015 konnte ich mir nicht nur über die immer wieder erstaunliche brasilianische Vitalität einen Eindruck verschaffen, sondern auch feststellen, wie niedergeschlagen Politik und Land eingeschätzt werden.

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A New Revolution? The Recent Governmental Crisis in Romania

As of November 2015, Romania faces its most important social, political and constitutional crisis in the last quarter-century. If the 1989 Revolution signified a break with a totalitarian communist regime, the widespread street protests of 2015, which led to the fall of the Government, gave a new message: global dissatisfaction towards the whole political class and institutions marked by serious inefficiency and corruption. The Government’s resignation led to an important constitutional crisis: one year before general elections, the country needed a new Government, but there was no clear political majority in Parliament to form one. In these circumstances, the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, has tried a new approach, calling on social movements and appointing a non-political “techocratic” government. Time will tell if the decisions taken were right for Romanian democracy.

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