Practicing Parity

On July 15, the Constitutional Court of the German Land of Thuringia will announce its decision on the fate of Thuringia’s controversial Parity Act, which was passed by Thuringia’s parliament, the Landtag, in 2019. Like Germany’s first Parity Act in Brandenburg, it requires that electoral candidate lists put forward for Landtag elections will have to consist of an equal number of alternating women and men, with the aim of increasing the share of female lawmakers. Several lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of parity legislation have been filed. While not all arguments against the parity acts are convincing, it seems likely that they will be found unconstitutional. Like in other countries, supporters of parity could in this case resort to campaigning for a constitutional amendment.

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Inherited Confusion

Necessitas non habet legem, this ancient maxim meaning that necessity has no law appears to be applicable to Tunisia during the pandemic. The Tunisian authorities rapidly took measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak. But the broad language used in the legal texts ruling the COVID-19 crisis – such as the constitution and the various governmental and presidential decrees – combined with legal doctrine likening Tunisia’s constitutional emergency clause to that of France have added to the confusion of power. This is not only endangering the newly installed democratic government but illustrates how the adoption of a foreign constitutional framework impacts new democracies, making it difficult for the Tunisian constitutional system to evolve.

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From Legal Fiction to Reality: Securing the Dignity of India’s Manual Scavengers

Manual scavenging is one of the most inhumane and abhorrent sanitation practices prevalent in modern India: broadly, it means deploying individuals to manually clean up drainage systems. ‘Manual scavengers’ (unfortunately, for the lack of a better term) have been denied their humanitarian due for centuries in the Indian sub-continent and their constitutional due for 70 years in the Republic of India – it is high time the Law dismantles the structure that perpetuates their oppression.

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The ‘Constitutional Military Inter­vention’: Brazil on the Verge of Democratic Breakdown

After numerous judicial defeats in the past couple of months, Bolsonaro chose to travel down the path of intimidation and defiance rather than institutional reform: Through dubious constitutional interpretation, he and his supporters are ascribing to the armed forces the role of a “constitutional moderator” in order to undermine the independence of the Supreme Court.

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COVID-19 in Paraguay: Health Success and Constitutional Deficit

Paraguay has been rated as the South American country that has best avoided the spread of COVID-19. This success could have come under the wing of the rule of the Constitution. However, up to now, the Paraguayan response to COVID-19 brought along with it the use of a constitutionally questionable law, kept in force a terrible approach to constitutional interpretation, and missed the opportunity for the branches of public power to collaborate with one another.

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China’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic: Fighting Two Enemies

The reality of China’s coronavirus experience raises distinctive legal-political concerns. The Party has used its vast and concentrated power to fight not only the virus, but also domestic critics of its response, including medical professionals, journalists, human rights activists, a constitutional law professor, and citizens simply speaking up via the social media because they were engaged, or enraged, or both. The fight against one of these ‘enemies’, inevitably, has affected that against the other.

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COVID-19, Constitutionalism and Emergencies under Ghana’s 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution

Ghana has adopted several measures in tackling the COVID-19 global pandemic, chief among them being the enactment of new legislation to tackle the issue, and the exercise of powers under pre-existing legislation. A formal state of emergency has not been declared in the wake of the pandemic, leading to debates, for instance regarding the impact of the current situation on the 2020 elections.

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Russia – With Scepter and Corona

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were registered in Zabaikalsky kray and Tumenskaya oblast on 31 January 2020, the Russian government has reacted to the challenge of the epidemic by enacting new legislation and introducing some emergency measures. The pandemic is bringing new and unpleasant surprises, creating specific social, economic and legal hardships which is making the unstable life of Russian citizens even worse.

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Romania in the Covid Era: Between Corona Crisis and Constitutional Crisis

In Romania, the sanitary crisis caused by the SARS-COV-2 pandemic started during an existing political crisis and overlapped, at a few crucial moments, with a constitutional crisis. The fact that 2020 is an electoral year had an important impact on the crisis management: on the one hand, the political conflicts increased, but, on the other hand, the fact that the power did not belong to the same political majority hindered potential abuses of one of the actors, especially of the President.

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Czechs and Balances – If the Epidemiological Situation Allows…

In the Czech Republic, the COVID-19 crisis has brought not only a general state of chaos but also a considerable shift of powers to the executive branch. The first shift, impairing the legislative branch, was triggered by the declaration of a state of emergency on 12 March 2020. The second shift, diminishing also the role of the judiciary, was caused by a ruling in which the Constitutional showed its unwillingness to interfere with the government’s steps.

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