"Only Fidesz" – Minority Electoral Law in Hungary

Hungary is holding parliamentary elections on 8th April. While the systemic deficiencies of the Hungarian electoral system have received international attention, the present Hungarian regulation and the practice of minority and extraterritorial citizen voting also create several possibilities for abuse. Hidden behind the façade of multiparty elections, nation building and minority rights, the current system serves as an instrument to keep the government in power.

Continue Reading →

Who will Count the Votes in Poland?

In the shadow of an international outcry concerning a grotesque and speech-restrictive Polish law which would punish anyone attributing to Polish nation co-responsibility for crimes during the 2nd World War, a much more dangerous change has been quietly brought about, and just completed. A change which gives the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) necessary mechanisms to “control” the election outcomes. To put it bluntly – a change of the electoral system which will make it possible for PiS to commit electoral fraud allowing it to stay in power, regardless of the voters’ preferences.

Continue Reading →

Next Stop on the Way to Constitutional Disarray in Poland: Electoral Law Reform

Last Thursday, the Sejm has passed another hugely controversial law that might change the constitutional setup in Poland without changing a letter of the constitution itself. The law claims, according to its title, to „increase the participation of citizens in the process of electing, functioning and controlling certain public bodies“ (doc. 2001). In large parts, it consists of amendments to the Polish Electoral Code (E.C). Its adoption is opposed by the parliamentary opposition, by the electoral administration bodies and by many experts. The enactment of this law would violate the principle of a democratic state ruled by law in three ways.

Continue Reading →

Is the European Parliament Missing its Constitutional Moment?

Over the years, step by step, the European Parliament has won a share of real constitutional power. At times, Parliament has had a decisive influence on the constitutive development of the European Union. At other times, MEPs have found it just as difficult as the European Council has done to make constitutional sense of a Union which is an uneasy compromise between federal and confederal elements. If EU governance is congenitally weak it may be because its institutions are unable to manage the dichotomy between supranational and intergovernmental. Today, circumstances have thrown the European Parliament a golden opportunity to take a major step in the federal direction – but it looks as though MEPs are going to retreat again.

Continue Reading →

Marine Le Pen: a Constitutional Program Threatening the French Constitutional Regime

The recent publication of Marine Le Pen’s presidential program has been followed by many comments from the media, specialists and policy makers analysing her economic, social or security propositions. But one particular point has been missed: the different constitutional amendments she intends to achieve. With this constitutional program, her goal is to deeply reform the organization of the French state and its institutions. It is an unnamed constitutional revolution since Ms. Le Pen’s objective is to strike down French liberal democracy in order to in store an almost absolutist presidential regime.

Continue Reading →

Italy before the Constitutional Referendum: "I do not see any Armageddon Scenario"

On Sunday, Italy will vote on the largest constitutional reform in recent history. Francesco Clementi, constitutional lawyer from the University of Perugia and one of the staunchest supporters of the reform, answers our questions about what will happen in case of a NO or a YES victory.

Continue Reading →

Italian Constitutional Referendum: Voting for Structural Reform or Constitutional Transformation?

As the distance between political elites and the population in Europe increases, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s plans of constitutional reform further impoverish political representation in Italy – both with respect to input and output of the process. That is why the opponents of the reform are gaining ever more traction among Italian voters and could in the end prevail.

Continue Reading →