constitutional reforms

  • The Changing British Political System

    The British political system is unusual in many aspects. First of all, Britain lacks a written constitution. The country’s political system has long appeared a model of stability in a changing world. It should be noted that European integration has had a considerable impact on the British political system. However, the election of Tony Blair government in 1997 was a starting point towards serious constitutional reforms. One of the most important was the devolution and The House of Lords reform. Apart from it Human Rights and Freedom of Information Act were introduced. In 2000 a directly elected mayor of London was elected. In 2010 a coalition government was established with David Cameron as the Prime Minister from the Conservative Party. The second were the Liberal Democrats. This coalition in itself was unusual in Britain’s post-war history. The set of changes in the British political system was an important part of the coalition agreement. The first stage was The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 which provided for a referendum on the voting system for UK Parliament and reduced the number of constituencies. The second was The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 which set the date of the next general election as 7th May 2015 and on the first Thursday in every fifth year there after. There are only two circumstances when early elections can be held. The Monarch no longer dissolves Parliament, but the Act does not affect her/his power to prorogue Parliament. In 2011 proposed reforms to the royal succession were also announced. They changed the rules of succession and the fi rst-born child of a monarch would be heir apparent regardless of gender. Apart from it there were plans to reform the House of Lords again. Its current serving members were to be replaced by a semi-elected house of as few as 300 members (240 elected and 60 appointed). The plans failed, because they did not gain acceptance. Constitutional changes since 1997 have been extensive, but there was no holistic view on the reform process. Nowadays the country faces the possible separation of Scotland, which could lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom. It could be a revolutionary change of the British political system. However, there are close links between Scotland and the rest of the country and in all probability the status quo will prevail.

  • Political System Changes in Greece after the 2015 General Election

    The article analyzes the political changes that have taken place in Greece following a double parliamentary election of 2015 (in January and September), focusing on three levels: 1) party system change, 2) electoral system change into parliament, 3) constitutional reform. The first part of the text sets out the basic changes in the structure of the party system, emphasizing the electoral victory of the radical forces – the far left populist SYRIZA or the rise of the far-right (Golden Dawn) in the double election of 2015.
    The paper also briefly reviews the nature and functioning of the Greek parliamentary electoral system with special regard to the newly adopted electoral law. In this respect, the paper highlights the main constitutional principles governing suffrage, as a necessary background to examining and understanding the framework upon which Greek electoral systems are based. It also presents the main features of the current electoral system, since it is the one to be applied in the following parliamentary election. The focus will be then on the recent reform of the electoral system in Greece after the adoption of Law 4406/2016. The paper analyses its most significant aspects and raises a number of relevant questions. Special reference is made to the voting procedure followed by the Greek Parliament for the adoption of Law 4406/2016, since it is a key factor for its enforcement.
    Since the outbreak of the crisis discussions about constitutional reform have been ongoing in Greece, although the initiation of a formal amendment process was blocked until 2013, due to the time-constraints imposed by the constitutional amending formula. The paragraph assesses the proposals made in July 2016 by the Tsipras government for a radical revision of the 1975 Constitution, taking into account the intense debate which engaged Greek constitutional law scholars. The Author highlights the particular features of the Greek constitutional revision model, characterized by political-elite-driven change which has led in the past to amending attempts lacking of a broad consensus. The broad scope of the proposed amendments requires political foresight and caution to prevent the constitutional revision from being reduced to a mere political diversion to ensure the permanence in power of certain political actors in the absence of consent and to deflect attention from continued controversial austerity policies.

  • Change of the government model in Poland

    The Polish model of the executive power presupposes the existence of two pillars of the executive. The Council of Ministers is strong by the virtue of its constitutionally granted competences, whereas the strength of the President is in the direct universal election. This situation creates a zone of conflicts between the supreme organs of the state. The author presents contemporary model solutions of the system of goverment and on this background he argues for a change in the Polish Constitution and the introduction of the model solutions of the chancellor government.

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